Are you moving to Qatar? This guide will explain the kinds of accommodation to choose from in the city.
22 July 2013| Last updated on 11 December 2017
The lifestyle in Qatar is one of luxury with large apartments, restaurant eating, frequent travel and a safe environment. If you are moving here for the first time or are after some extra information on the accommodation and living in Qatar this guide is for you. Moving to a new country with a different culture to yours can be daunting as can finding accommodation without knowing the areas especially if you have to rent one yourself.
Company provided accommodation
If you are lucky to get a job with one of the national companies in Qatar such as oil and gas or the national airline you will most likely be provided with company accommodation. Company provided accommodation can be a godsend as it has everything provided for you, it will either already be furnished or you will receive an allowance for furniture that you have to purchase.
Some companies have their own compounds where all the houses or flats are occupied by the employees of that respective company. Other companies will have flats around the city that are allocated for the people that work for them. Either way you and your family will not have to worry about finding a home.
The pros of company accommodation are that you will not have to think about rent, lease agreements or finding a home. Many company provided compounds have their own sports facilities and gyms. This will lighten the financial load as families can spend their free time making use of these facilities at no extra cost. Furthermore there will always be like-minded expatriates in the compound. Finally the great thing about living in this type of accommodation is that you can leave without having to give the mandatory notice.
The cons of company provided accommodation is that you may not be able to choose where you live or the size of the apartment. It will depend on your marital status and the number of children that you have. Furthermore the office environment could end up coming home with you especially if you are placed in a company compound as you will be seeing work colleagues throughout the evening and weekend, however this could also be a pro.
The companies that do not provide accommodation often give their employees a monthly or annual housing allowance. The upside of a housing allowance is that you can choose where to live; the downside is that finding an apartment will take time, but with so many different kinds of accommodation to choose from Qatar really does offer great living.
Accommodation types in Qatar
There are various kinds of accommodation in Qatar. Compound living is highly sought after but there are long waiting lists. A compound is multiple homes that often have shared amenities such as a swimming pool and tennis courts amongst others. This kind of accommodation is popular in Qatar but also difficult to find as many good compounds have waiting lists.
Serviced apartments are also a popular choice for expats. Living in a serviced apartment is almost like living in a hotel in that it is completely furnished, someone will come daily to clean your home and change the sheets and towels and it is all included in the rental price. Serviced apartments usually have amenities such as a pool and gym for the resident’s use. The downside is that these apartments are much more expensive than regular apartments.
Living in apartment is quite the norm in Qatar. There are many to choose from ranging from studios to penthouse apartments. The buildings can have amenities such as a swimming pool, gym, tennis and squash courts. The newer ones often do. Some of the older apartment buildings do not offer amenities and are hence often less expensive. Furthermore newer buildings will have central air conditioning, the cost of which is often included in the rent price. If it is not included it can be quite pricey, so always ask. Older apartments will have single air conditioning units which are less expensive but quite noisy. Apartments are great for families, couples and singles and are usually large enough.
Villa living is more often associated with compounds and gated communities. It is great for families as most villas are spacious and come with a large garden. However, villa living can be lonely should you choose to live in a villa outside a compound as the neighbors will be a bit further away. Most independent villas are owned by Qatari nationals and are rented directly from the landlord. Sharing villas is a popular concept among expatriates in Doha and is done often among single expatriates. Please do note that cohabitation is illegal as is subletting a company provided villa.
Renting a home
Finding a rental can be daunting especially if you are unfamiliar with the areas of Qatar and Doha. Have a look at our areas section>>. Most people rely on property agents for their rentals. As with property agencies in most countries, be prepared to pay up to 10% extra in agent’s fees. Renting from an agency is safer due to the fact that things such as building maintenance and rental increases are regulated. You could also choose to rent directly from the owner, while this option might be cheaper be prepared for issues such as maintenance to arise. Furthermore while rental increases are regulated in Qatar the law is very lax and you may find that the private landlord can raise the rent to a price beyond your means.
When signing a rental agreement lease, depending on the one that you will sign you will need to provide a copy of yours and your sponsor’s passport and visa. Furthermore you should receive a copy of the landlord’s visa and passport as well. Remember to never sign a lease agreement that you do not understand. If you are not an Arabic speaker ask for the agreement in English.
Be aware of the extra costs that you will have when renting a property. These include firstly the agent’s commission which can be anywhere from two to four weeks rent, depending on the agent. Secondly you will also have to give a security deposit for the flat which could be as much as one month’s rent. A deposit will have to be paid for the connection of water and electricity. The security deposit as well as the water and electricity deposit is refundable provided that the tenant complies fully with the regulations.
Like with any new place moving can be a bit of a drag but there is no reason that it has to be difficult. Qatar will provide you and your family a lifestyle that you may never have had the opportunity to afford in your home country. Enjoy every minute.