The Peninsula of Doha Qatar in its edition of Sunday 31 May 2015 reports that shortage of affordable housing for expatriate families are increasingly affecting the housing stock on offer on low rents in most areas in and around the city.

The demand for reasonably priced dwellings coupled with an availability of oversized detached villas usually vacant are influencing factors in the current Qatari housing market trends.   A market predominantly dominated by rentals; resident  non nationals are not allowed to legally purchase or own any property in the country.

One naturally, as it were, ‘arrived at’ solution is to partition these large villas into smaller affordable habitation units generally with no permission from the local authorities.  Utilities providers though are de facto put in the know but of course refrain from reporting for profitability’s sake, unless as it does happen more and more frequently, incidents and / or fires occur.

Told about the incidents of fire at the start of the summer months, a fire fighting official blamed the municipality and said they were not monitoring illegally partitioned houses to put a stop to this “dangerous” practice.

According to the daily, despite clampdown on villas partitioned in violation of the law, advertisements to let and sublet residential units on these properties continue to show in the local papers as well as on social media.

Such villas were also sighted where tens of single workers of shopping centres were huddled together in total disregards for safety regulations.

The daily said its reporter met former dwellers of partitioned villas who had left after having come to know that they were illegal.

Some of these families said middlemen took whole villas on rent from owners, illegally partitioned them, created makeshift residential units and sublet them to limited-income expatriate families.

“No safety rules are followed in these villas,” a family member, which had occupied a unit in such a villa and left, was quoted as saying.  “Their occupants are risking their lives.  It is a serious social problem,” he said.  To solve the housing shortage, which is leading limited-income families to occupy these makeshift housing units, the Central Municipal Council (CMC) has urged the government to allow multi-storey buildings in the sprawling suburbs.

Typical twin villas  in Doha suburbs

Typical twin villas in Doha suburbs

Source : The Peninsula