Qatar approves draft law for real estate brokers

by  — 13 July 2015

Government makes it mandatory for real estate brokers to obtain a licence before doing business, setting obligations and disciplinary accountabilities for them, writes Syed Ameen Kader

Qatar’s growing expatriate population has created huge demand for housing in Doha and surrounding areas. (Image Corbis)Qatar’s growing expatriate population has created huge demand for housing in Doha and surrounding areas. (Image Corbis)

Real estate brokers will now have to obtain a licence to do business in Qatar. In May, the cabinet approved a draft law that stipulates special provisions for licence to practise real estate brokerage business in the country. The law will set obligations and disciplinary accountabilities of the real estate brokers, who were outside the purview of any specific law until now.

The Qatar real estate sector has been growing steadily on the back of strong property demand arising out of the country’s increasing population that, according to the Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA), stood at 2.34 million in March. With the market  growing substantially over the last few years, this has also created many business opportunities for real estate agents and brokers, many of whom are not necessarily well trained.

The industry experts feel the new law will certainly bring in more transparency and accountability in the real estate industry. Mark Proudley, associate director, DTZ Qatar Consultancy, said, “We would welcome legislation that regulates real estate brokers and their activities and we consider it long overdue in Qatar.”

“We anticipate that it will take time to both finalise the legislation and then implement, but it should provide investors, landlords and tenants with greater comfort that they are dealing with a qualified professional,” Proudley told The Edge.

Many consider this will help bring more sanity to the Qatar market and avoid a crisis-like situation such as the one its neighbour, United Arab Emirates had to face in 2009. The industry experts in the Dubai property market partially blamed the unprofessional behaviour of a large number of property brokers besides other factors for the market crash.  Although the characteristics of both markets are different, real estate pundits suggest, in the longer term, such a law should also lead to a higher level of standardisation and consistency being adopted in the Qatar real estate market.

 “In Dubai, the regulation of brokers along with registration requirements has enhanced the market and increased transparency. These are factors that have played a key part in the recent softening of the Dubai market and the prevention of what looked like another bubble followed by a bust,” said Proudley.

The cabinet meeting that was chaired by HE Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani had also approved two separate sets of draft laws to streamline the real estate registration, and the documentation and notary processes.

“The preparation of the mentioned draft laws came within the framework of the development of real estate registration and documentation systems aimed at protecting real estate wealth of the state and individuals, and to keep up with the requirements of the comprehensive development in Qatar,” said HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud in a statement issued after the cabinet meeting.

The other draft laws include provisions for maintaining the real estate registration, records of registration and ratification of the signatures. It also includes various other important components such as the registration fees, documents due to be registered and enrolled, the unification of real estate and land registry, among others.

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