‘Affordable’ housing residents’ biggest headache
July 13 2014 12:09 AM


 By Ramesh Mathew/Staff Reporter


While there is no dearth of villas and apartments in Doha, many expatriates find it rather hard to spot a truly “affordable” house that suits their pockets and also allows them to live in comfortable environs.

And many of those who live in houses with “reasonable” rents fear that their landlords may increase the same when the contract is renewed.  

Many regional and global real estate specialists have stressed that residential rentals in the country are “far from affordable” for several thousands of its residents, with some even describing them as “not realistic”.

Visits to different parts of the city and its neighbourhood reveal that a considerable number of housing units are lying unoccupied. This trend is mostly attributed to the “astronomical” rents of these buildings, according to sources.

There are many city areas where one can find a large number of buildings with “for rent” boards or banners on them. “However, the issue is the asking rent itself,” said an expatriate in a comment she posted a few days ago on a widely followed social networking site.

Along with scores of “single workers” hunting for “affordable” flats, many families are said to be also going through a difficult time as they have been issued notices to vacate their existing accommodation in view of the development work that will be undertaken in those areas in the coming months.

Recently, a secretary at a home appliances company said he had no clue about what to do if his landlord decided to hike the rent. And he is not the only person facing such a possibility.

“I receive 2-4 calls every day from families looking for accommodation in city areas and these days the numbers of such calls are certainly on the rise. Though apartments and villas are available, none of them suits the requirements of those making the calls because of their excessively high rents,” said a real estate agent who has been in the business for several years.

Interestingly, many of those looking for alternative accommodation a few months ago have stopped their hunt as they have realised that every fresh inquiry about unoccupied properties only helps increase the rents further.

While court intervention at intervals has helped many tenants, particularly families, not many are keen to seek legal action for various reasons. The rent dispute resolving mechanism initiated by the government  also has proved to be very helpful.

People seeking “affordable” accommodation in today’s Doha may relate rather well to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s famous lines “Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink” from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which was penned centuries ago.

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