Even though the country has allowed foreign ownership of real estate since 2004, renting a property in Qatar is still the way to go for most expats.
There is a good chance you are moving to Doha only temporarily, or perhaps buying a property just seems like too much of a commitment at first. Of course, buying also comes with a much higher price tag, so you might prefer renting a property in Doha just for the financial reasons as well.
Whatever your reason, you want to make sure that you find yourself a place that you can call home. Moreover, you want the process to find it to be as easy and stress-free as possible. And that’s where this guide to renting a property in Qatar comes in.
Below, you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about renting accommodation in Doha. After reading this short guide, you will be ready to start house hunting for your new home in Qatar. Let’s go!
Table of contents
1 – Preparation is key
Before you can even start your search, you need to make sure that you hold all the proper documentation needed to actually be allowed to rent property in Qatar.
So whenever you begin your house hunt, be sure to have a:
- Qatar residence permit
- Valid Qatar ID card
- Copy of your sponsor ID card
2 – Set a budget
Doha is a city with more than a million inhabitants. This means there are dozens of different areas, districts, and residential projects where you can rent accommodation.
So instead of just randomly searching through all the property to rent in Qatar, you might want to narrow your search first.
A first way to do this is by setting a budget. With thousands of properties to rent, Qatar can cater to any type of budget. Knowing yours before you start looking is essential, or you might end up disappointed.
When calculating your budget for renting accommodation, do read up on the cost of living in Qatar first. You will see that rent is typically by far the largest expense for people renting a property in Doha. But depending on your lifestyle you do want to ensure you set aside enough of your monthly income to spend on other things.
Once you have done this you can manage your expectations better. It is further advisable to first start looking slightly below your budget. If your budget is QAR 10,000 per month, why not first set a price range between QAR 7,000/month and QAR 9,000/month? You might already find your new home within this lower price range, saving you a lot of money on rent for your property each month!
3 – Decide on districts
Just like you need a realistic budget, you need to be realistic about where you want to look for a property to rent.
If you have QAR 4,000 per month to spend on rent, you do not have to bother looking at luxurious apartments in the Pearl Qatar or the West Bay. You are just adding unrealistic properties to your search for nothing, and it will only make your budget look bad in comparison!
Instead, read up on the best neighbourhoods in Qatar for renting a property with your budget and narrow your search down to those specific areas of Doha. You want to start with about two or three areas first. If you really cannot find something of your liking in those areas, you can always adjust your search and widen it later.
4 – Type of property
Do you want a standalone villa for you and your family, or a one-bedroom apartment just for you? Equally, do you want to live in a gated community, or is a flat just fine? And how about furnished or unfurnished?
Deciding on the type of property beforehand can help you further narrow down your search.
5 – The actual search
Time to start your search! So where do you go?
First, you can work with a real estate agency of your choice directly to help you with your search. You can either contact them or look through their property listings online on hapondo.
A few examples of well-respected agencies in Qatar are:
6 – Not all rent is equal
Monthly rent can include or exclude many different costs. As such, you should always be aware of the exact deal stated in your contract.
For example, utility fees are not always included in your rent. The payment structure is not always the same either, as some brokers may ask for advance cheque payments.
You also want to beware of restrictions and rules that might affect you and your family. For example, pets are not always allowed.
Lastly, make sure to read the fine print in your contract about the commission structure (when working with a broker). Let’s look at two common commission structures used by brokers when renting a property in Qatar.
- Percentage of the annual rent. For example, your broker may request a 5% commission on your total yearly rent. So if you pay QAR 10,000/month, that results in QAR 6,000 commission.
- Percentage of the first month’s rent. For example, your broker may request a 50% commission on a month’s rent. So if you pay QAR 10,000/month, that results in QAR 5,000 commission.
7 – The contract
Before signing the contract, it is good to know that there are two types of contracts, personal and corporate contracts.
The difference is in the name, as the corporate contract is only used when a business wants to rent a property in Qatar, rather than an individual.
For a personal contract, you need your:
- Qatari ID
- Salary certificate
- Recent bank statement (up to 6 months)
For a corporate contract you will need a:
- Copy of your business’s Commercial Registration (CR)
- Qatari ID (in the same name as the CR)
- Computer card
Last but certainly not least, you always need to read the contract carefully. It is advisable to either ask someone you know to double-check it for you as well or if you are still in doubt you may want to hire a professional.
Either way, read your contract beginning to end to make sure you know exactly what to expect.
Conclusion: Renting a property in Qatar
Renting a property in Doha can seem scary at first, especially when you are a non-Qatari. Fortunately, there are enough companies that can help you out, making the process a lot easier.
Whatever you do, follow these seven simple steps and you will be prepared and you will know what to expect.
Good luck with finding your new home!