Qatar’s population shrinks as demand for World Cup rent rises

or sleep? That is one of the biggest questions facing fans heading to tiny Qatar for the World Cup amid a frenzied rush of rooms in Doha. Some sleep on ships. Others will set up camp in the desert. Others will come from Dubai and elsewhere.

But with the world’s biggest sporting event looming in the world’s smallest host nation, the battle for accommodation is not limited to tourists. The housing craze in Qatar has sent rents skyrocketing and pushed longtime residents out of their homes, leaving many homeless.

“Landlords are dragging the situation out and there’s nothing to support the people who already live here,” said Maryam, 30, a British resident whose landlord refused to renew her annual contract in September. his monthly contract. Rent – from 5,000 Qatari riyals (about 1,370 dollars) to 20,000 riyals (5,490 dollars). Unable to bear the increase, she had no choice but to leave and now lives with a friend.

“It’s really frustrating,” she said, giving only her first name for fear of reprisals, like other tenants interviewed in the authoritarian state. Others spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason.

Residents of the country, where expats outnumber locals by nine times, say rising demand and a shortage of rooms ahead of the World Cup have enabled landlords to raise rents by more than 40% in many cases at short notice, which forced tenants to pack their bags. She faces an uncertain future.

The Qatari government acknowledged the “increased demand for housing” and encouraged aggrieved tenants to file complaints with the government’s Tenancy Disputes Committee.

The 1.2 million fans are expected next month for the sheikhdom of the Persian Gulf, which has never hosted an event as big as the World Cup.
Local organizers sought to allay fears of the housing crisis, noting that Qatar had allocated 130,000 rooms available on the official website.

Les chambres, qui se trouven dans des hotels, des centers de villégiature, des logements specially constructed et trois navires de cruise au port, beginnment à environ $80, disent-ils, bien que le nombre d’options ne soit paits budget Clear.

The government said in a statement to the Associated Press that the maximum rate applies to 80% of the rooms. He did not answer questions about whether or how the limit was enforced, and the limit — about $780 for a five-star resort room — could rise depending on room amenities.

Many long-term hotel and apartment dwellers say they are paid to make room for players, staff and fans.

“You agree to stay and pay extra fees or leave and you don’t know if you’ll get a place to live,” said a British teacher whose landlord raised his rent by 44%. The teacher has sold all his furniture and is now collapsing at a friend’s house, worried about his future.

Other tenants who have renewed their leases have reported signs appearing on their apartments saying the buildings have been “selected by the government to host the 2022 World Cup guests and events.” The notice, seen by The Associated Press, orders tenants to move out so the building can be turned over for maintenance before the tournament.

Local organizers have signed an agreement with French hotel company Accor to reserve around 45,000 rooms for fans.

Omar Al-Jaber, executive director of housing at Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said the government had no role in terminating contracts affecting long-term tenants.

“To be honest with you, we don’t control what happens in the market,” he told The Associated Press.

A 48-year-old French Pilates teacher said when she signed her lease a year ago, the landlord promised he wouldn’t evict her during the World Cup.

However, a few days before the lease is to be renewed, she receives a devastating message that her landlord cannot rent the place to her for “personal reasons”. The next day, her friend saw her room advertised on Airbnb for $600 more per month than she paid.

“Are you driving out long-time residents for a month-long event?” “Say. “People are angry. It’s very annoying. Residents scrambling to find new homes due to rising rents say it’s nearly impossible to find suitable homes within their budgets. Most two-bedroom apartments on The Pearl, a man-made island on the coast of Doha, costs more than $1,000 a night on Airbnb.Luxury apartments on the site can bring in $200,000 a month.

“The houses we have left are not good at all,” said a 32-year-old Indian whose monthly rent will increase by more than $400 next month. “So if we can afford it, there’s no kitchen, or it’s too far or partitioned off. It is very annoying. Energetic Qatar has spared no expense in its grand plans to host the first World Cup in the Arab world, and promising locals and expats will also benefit from a lasting legacy.

“This tournament is for everyone who lives in Qatar,” said Al-Jaber. “We would like everyone to enjoy this tournament.” But some say the intense tension shows that the joyous event comes at a price.

“It cost me a lot of stress and money,” says the British teacher, who had to leave his apartment after seven years. I have to pay for the World Cup.

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