Qatar: Draft Law to Enhance Real Estate Sector Approved

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(June 12, 2019) On May 30, 2019, the cabinet of the State of Qatar approved a draft law on real estate development to strengthen the real estate market. (Cabinet Approves Draft Law on Regulating Real Estate Development, THE PENINSULA (May 30, 2019).) The draft law amends Law No. 6 of 2014, which regulates the granting of licenses and permits to commercial and residential real estate developers. (Law No. 6 of 2014 Regulating Real Estate Development, AL-JARIDAH AL-RASMIYAH [OFFICIAL GAZETTE], vol. 6, 11 Mar. 2014), State of Qatar legal portal (in Arabic).)

Previous Measures to Enhance Qatari Real Estate Market

  1. March 2019 Cabinet Resolution

The May 2019 draft law is among a number of measures adopted by the Qatari government to “improve transparency, ownership regulations and overall participation” in the country’s real estate market. (Sachin Kumar, Property Ownership Law a Big Boost for Real Estate Sector, THE PENINSULA (Mar. 19, 2019).) In March 2019, for example, the Qatari cabinet issued a resolution to encourage foreigners to purchase and own real estate properties for residential and commercial purposes. The resolution identifies ten locations where foreign nationals are allowed to own real estate properties. It also mentions sixteen locations where foreign nationals may purchase real estate to enjoy the right of usufruct without owning the property. The resolution applies to residential units, such as villas and apartments, as well as to commercial units, such as stores in commercial malls. (Qatari Cabinet Approves Ownership of Real Estate by Foreigners, AL-QUDS AL-ARABI (Mar. 13, 2019) (in Arabic).)

  1. Law No. 16 of 2018 Regulating the Ownership and Use of Real Estate by Foreigners

In November 2018, the Amir of Qatar signed Law No. 16 of 2018, which allows foreign nationals to purchase and own real estate in the country. The Law also establishes the Commission on Non-Qatari Real Estate Ownership. The Commission’s main task is to designate locations and areas where foreign nationals may own and purchase real properties. (Law No. 16 of 2018, AL-JARIDAH AL-RASMIYAH, vol. 7, 19 Nov. 2018, State of Qatar legal portal (in Arabic).)

Reactions to Government Policies to Improve Real Estate Markets

The real estate market in Qatar has reportedly progressed due to the recent legal measures adopted by the government, which are expected to attract long-term capital to the real estate sector. (Kumar, supra.)

Pawel Banach, general manager of ValuStrat Qatar, a real estate development company, views the government’s measures as “contribut[ing] to a positive transformation of the real estate sector[,] which will now embrace its cultural diversity through new initiatives designed to encourage investments and positively change business perspectives to ultimately result in overall economic growth.” (Id.) Banach also believes that “[a]llowing outright foreign ownership within existing residential locations will help non-Qataris to make more informed decisions [on] whether they desire to invest in property or purchase [it] for [their] own occupation.” (Id.)

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