Qatar World Cup.. a big problem facing the old tenants

Without warning, Reem, who works for a Qatari company, was asked to vacate an apartment she had lived in in Doha for two years and move to a hotel within a week, only to discover that the owner company would rent out during the World Cup at an exorbitant price.

This is the case of many tenants who find themselves victims of the property owners’ race to make more profit during the World Cup, refusing to renew contracts that have expired in recent months, while other tenants, according to testimonies obtained by Agence France -Presses have been collected, find themselves faced with two options: either renew Contract their apartments at higher rents, sometimes for up to two years, or leave their homes voluntarily.

“We felt humiliated and the situation was like a disaster because we moved from our homes to single rooms in a hotel with all our things in many bags and boxes,” says Reem, who prefers to use a pseudonym.

The young woman in her thirties, who has lived in Doha for four years, expected to renew the lease of her apartment as usual, but the management of the company that works for her and that takes it upon herself to provide housing for the employees provided , informed her and dozens of her colleagues that the owner of the tower in which they live does not want to renew the leases and that they have a week left to leave because their apartments “are being rented on a daily basis during the World Cup be discussed”.

The Qatari capital, which expects an influx of more than one million visitors to attend the first World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world between November 20 and December 18, is witnessing high demand for apartments and race against time to secure accommodation for supporters of the participating teams.

“Most of the Qatari owners want to take advantage of the World Cup period, so they have not shown mercy” to the tenants, said an official in a real estate company, who preferred not to be named as the rule now is “greed.”

He claims that Doha is seeing an increase in rental prices, from 10%, which is the percentage increase allowed by law. However, he stressed that there are owners of apartments and towers who have raised prices “crazy”.

Anum Hassan, head of research at international consultancy Valustrat Group in Qatar, estimates that “rents in some areas have risen by an average of 40% in one year.”

A Western diplomat stated that his embassy staff demanded an increase in their salaries to bear the burden of rising rents.

AFP spoke to a number of tenants who confirmed they had no choice but to accept an increase in the value of their homes’ rent, while many declined to answer questions.

On the “Booking.com” website, which specializes in offering rooms and houses for rent, apartments in the tower in which Reem lived are offered for $1,700 a night, provided that the reservation is for 14 days or more. When Reem lived there, the rent for her apartment was $2,500 a month.

“Rents have gone up in the past month and they will be high for a certain period of time,” said Nabil Ghara, 59, a Lebanese-American who lives on Pearl Island in Doha. “I feel there are people who take advantage of the situation. , but it happens all over the world when there is an event.” That’s how big it is … and I think we’re paying for it.”

Many fans who come to the rich gas-rich emirate to attend the World Cup, which cost billions of dollars to organize, will stay in hotels, apartments, camps in the desert or on ships at varying and reasonable prices. However, others chose to live at very high prices in luxury houses or apartments near the stadiums.

AFP noted that the average price for renting an apartment for two people on the Airbnb website, which specializes in renting private housing, in Doha during the World Cup is $2,500 a day, and 77,000 for a month. The minimum rent for a house or villa for the month of the World Cup in Doha is around $13,000.

A co-owner of one of the towers in Doha explained that a Qatari owner of one of the apartments in the tower “asked $11,000 a night in exchange for renting his apartment,” noting that he decided to “spend the World Cup in Europe”. vacate the apartment.

The official in the real estate company says he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, so he showed his house on Airbnb to rent it to fans, but he did not succeed because the lease agreement prevented him from renting the house without the owner’s permission permission.

The idea of ​​’subletting’ houses came to many tenants who wanted to make a profit. But many attempts failed, and among them was Adel (a pseudonym), who had been offering his one-bedroom apartment for rent on Airbnb for $900 a night since last April, and “the demand was very high.” But he soon received a message from the website asking for official documents proving the owner’s “no objection”, so he was forced to cancel the bookings.

Prices could drop in the remaining few weeks before the World Cup after FIFA recently gave up thousands of hotel rooms previously booked to host players and officials.

As for Reem, her and her colleagues’ suffering is not over, as they will have to leave the hotel on November 15.

“Five days before the World Cup we will be humiliated again and move our things to an unknown place because the hotel is also booked for the World Cup,” she says.

The young woman points out that living in the apartments, if this happens, will also be temporary, “only for the month of the World Cup, and then we will move to another place.”

Leave a Comment