Concern over rise in subdivided flat units
October 02 2016 09:42 PM


Some brokers and real estate dealers take flats from owners on rent and partition them into smaller units in order to accommodate a large number of people.

It's not just villa partitioning that is widespread in Qatar, but subdivision of apartments, too, is becoming a growing trend in the country.

A number of Qataris have expressed concern over the practice, arguing that it puts additional pressure on public services and infrastructure and poses safety risks, according to local Arabic daily Arrayah.

They feel the owners of such buildings, along with brokers and others engaged in real estate deals, are responsible for this growing phenomenon as they seek to maximise profits without bothering much about the negative outcome.

Some brokers and real estate dealers take flats from owners on rent and partition them into smaller units in order to accommodate a large number of people – significantly more than what the unit is originally designed for. This practice is particularly common in densely populated areas such as Mansoura, Najma, Old Airport and Umm Ghuwailina and other places.

Like in villas, those living in partitioned flats do so because they see it as an economical and viable alternative to taking a full apartment on rent. While some apartments are shared by only a handful of tenants (mostly executive bachelors) and do not involve any subdivision, others are occupied by a large number of people who put up temporary partitions within a flat to demarcate their areas, it is found.

Practical solutions have to be devised and implemented to curb the further spread of this phenomenon and prevent overcrowding in residential areas, some of the citizens suggested. Besides putting an additional burden on public utilities, the practice of subdividing apartments could lead to different cultural, social and security issues as well as traffic congestion in some areas and a severe shortage of parking space.

Zaydan al-Yami, a young Qatari, said that urban planning in some areas had to be reconsidered to study the potential for granting more building permits to investors to build apartment blocks that target low-income residents. He also felt that vacant plots in high-demand residential areas needed to be developed and used to build more such buildings. This, in turn, could keep rents under control.

Abdulrahman al-Zaybani, another national, said that high rents were the main reason why many people lived in subdivided apartments. Besides, brokers and small-time dealers and investors exploited the situation by increasing the rent through a process of letting and subletting.

Jamal Badr said that some agents also offered bed-space for rent, cramming several people in small spaces actually meant for fewer occupants. He, too, stressed the need to check and control high residential rents to avoid such practices.

Some felt that stricter enforcement of municipal laws and regulations would be effective in curbing this phenomenon, while others said providing practical alternatives such as affordable units and more high-rises would provide the required solution.

Hafiz Ousmand

Monday، 03 October 2016 10:40 AM

High rents have caused immense pressure on expatriates in Qatar. Steps should be taken to reduce the rents to make their lives easier. Expatriates play a critical role and should be given the opportunity to sponsor their families. This will create a consumer-driven economy thereby reducing remittances.
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