Given the expansion of the country and the arrival of new immigrants to Qatar every year, and as far as the rental market is concerned, demand sometimes exceeds supply and it is often difficult to find accommodation at good prices. However, many housing solutions exist for expatriates.
Types of housing in Qatar:
Accomodation in "compounds":
Located in closed and secured neighborhoods, compounds are groups of individual or terraced houses with facilities like pools, gyms etc. Accommodation in compounds is very popular among the expatriate community.
Accommodation in individual houses:
You may well rent an individual house located outside "compounds". In general, houses are larger outside compounds and often include a garden or a yard. Individual houses availability is limited.
Given the urban development, many residential towers have been built in Qatar. Apartments are available for rent, either furnished or unfurnished, but all include basic amenities and air conditioning.
Where to look for accommodation in Qatar?
Companies in Qatar generally call upon the services of professional relocation agencies to find accommodation for their expatriate employees. If you cannot benefit from the services of a relocation agency, you can find accommodation to rent by word-of-mouth, directly from owners or through estate agencies. You can also ask your employer, your colleagues or your HR representative. Read ads in local newspapers, or simply ask to compounds or buildings'employees.
Accommodation prices vary greatly in Qatar, and are constantly on the rise. For your information, a 3 or 4 rooms apartment/house can easily cost around 10 000 to 20 000 riyals per month depending on the location.
The most common practice for duration of a lease agreement in Qatar varies from 6 months to two years in general. A safety deposit is required, but should not exceed two months rent. Rents can be paid in advance, on a monthly or quarterly basis (at the owner's discretion). The rent may include amenities like gas or air conditioning, but water and electricity are payable separately. Local taxes may also apply (garbage collection, recycling, etc.) Everything must be clearly stated on your rental agreement.
Subletting your apartment is prohibited in Qatar, except with the express consent of your landlord. If you still occupy your accommodation after expiration of the lease term without objection from the landlord, the lease will be automatically renewed.
Good to know:
It is almost impossible for foreigners to buy a property in Qatar. Since 2004 though, it is possible to buy properties in designated areas such as The Pearl, West Bay Lagoon and Al Khor.
Century 21 - Qatar
Qatar News Agency
Qatar News Agency - Department of Housing
Buy a property in Qatar - general information