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New law in real estate registration and ownership is underway

A new law which regulates real estate registration and ownership is underway in Qatar. Once implemented, it would replace the current 52 year old law.
A draft law is being prepared which proposes a three-year imprisonment and fine up to QR500,000 for obtaining real estate documents in an illegal way. Anybody found guilty of forging a real estate ownership document may be punished with a fine and jail term.

The law said that real estate ownership is limited to Qataris, without violating provisions of the law regulating ownership of GCC nationals and foreigners.  There should be a legal evidence for registration and should fulfil legal requirements.

When the existing law was issued, it was the best in the region, making real estate registration mandatory in the country.  It also stipulates that the owner should have ownership document. On issuance of this law, all real estate owners have been invited to register properties. Earlier this was not happening, and they were depending on a customary law and prevailing traditions in their areas, says Yusuf Al Zaman, prominent Lawyer.

The law remained the same despite considerable changes in real estate sector, as it fulfilled basic requirements and met the needs as real estate ownership, which was then limited to residential and commercial properties. However, disputes over real estate were the lowest in comparison to neighbouring countries.

Thereafter, the current developments and rapid expansion of buildings and diversity of their usage and ownership have necessitated the amendment to some articles of the law, but, major provisions will continue to remain unaltered in the draft law.

Al Zaman said that there is need to keep pace with present developments as enormous changes and developments have been taking place in real estate sector, and ownership system is no-longer limited to residential and commercial properties, but includes different types of industrial, investments and business activities and foreign ownership.

The current law states that real estate ownership is limited to Qataris, with some exceptions which allow foreigners to own properties and land in some areas like Lusail and The Pearl Qatar. The ‘right to benefit’ has been granted in some areas, and all these types of ownership do not form part of the old law, he said.

The law has also stipulated establishment of a real estate registration committee at the Ministry of Justice through a ministerial decision, the duties and responsibilities of which are yet to be specified. The committee will consider applications of registration of real estate properties located within the border of towns and villages that are still not registered and look into complaints pertaining to real estate evaluation and fee.

Posted on 22/6/2016

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