Unfinished buildings and dilapidated old houses left without restoration could pose both safety and environmental risks, besides being an eyesore, local Arabic daily Arrayah reported on Monday.
"Undeveloped vacant land plots left without proper fences could also become a source of nuisance and pollution for the surrounding areas," it was explained while urging the authorities concerned to take remedial steps in this regard.
Some Qatari experts and lawyers have expressed the need to introduce legislation that oblige building owners, especially those intended for investment and business purposes, to complete them within a time frame of 4-5 years. In case of no compliance, they should be notified by the municipality concerned to complete their buildings or face the consequences for not following the urban development plan of the country.
However, clear distinction should be made between abandoned and dilapidated houses and new under construction buildings that were left by their owners uncompleted for extended periods of time, and whether these buildings were private residential house or business and investment buildings.
Experts suggest that the old uninhabited buildings should be conserved and converted into monuments if these were in good shape and have good history, while the others in bad shape should be demolished and claimed by the state in case no owner turns out to assume responsibility.
Saeed Rashid al-Hajiri, member of the Central Municipal Council, pointed out that abandoned old houses in good condition could be restored and beautified to be utilised as historic sites of touristic value.
But, with regard to unfinished new buildings that have been abandoned for two years or more, he was of the view that their owners should be penalised and asked to complete within a set time frame or face stricter penalties. He suggested that the building law should be modified accordingly to address such issues.
Lawyer Abdulrahman al-Jufairi pointed out that the law does not oblige owners of houses, especially the abandoned ones, to repair or demolish them for rebuilding. It also does not specify a set time frame to complete a building or develop a vacant land plot, which gave room for such practices.
He suggested that the entities concerned should issue regulatory decisions regarding these cases to address them accordingly.
However, lawyer Mohamed Hadi al-Khayareen saw a need to practically enforce the stipulations of Law No 29 for 2006 on building control and the related regulations, which could effectively treat the negative consequences of such undesired phenomenon.
Remnants of an old building.