The Rental Disputes Settlement Committee has been reviewing a considerable number of cases filed by both Qataris and expatriates accusing some real estate companies of fraud, manipulation and sub-leasing in violation of the signed lease contracts.
Local Arabic daily Arrayah has reported that such cases included delays in paying rent, sub-leasing without the permission of the owner, non-payment of rent for long periods, and other various cases of fraud.
For instance, there are many cases where the agent or a real estate company rent a number of apartments at a high rental value but sub-lease them to others on lesser value on condition that they pay rent for six months or a year in advance.
The tenants of the building later discovered that the owner had not received the rent for many months and filed a case to get the premises vacated. The agent who sub-leased the building fled the country with the money collected through fraud.
The committee reviews many such cases and the main reason is the lure of big money for the owners of building, who are deceived by the exaggerated rental value.
Lawyer Mohamed Hadi al-Khayareen said that some real estate agents and companies exploit the need of many people to find accommodation at reasonable rent. So, they usually lure them by asking to pay a full year or half year rent to get a discount. However, they would discover later that the agent had paid only one or two months' rent to the owner and disappeared, escaping with the money in addition to the commission and the security deposit.
The lawyer explained that serious troubles could arise from the absence of a direct rent contract between the owner of the building and tenants. He also came across cases where some fraudulent real estate agents and companies gave the building owners big sums for their units in post-dated cheques, which bounced later.
Al-Khayareen stressed that both the tenants and building owners have to be careful and reject any unreasonable offers to avoid such troubles.
Lawyer Mohamed al-Tamimi pointed out this phenomenon has unfortunately been widespread and has become a big issue at the local courts. He stressed that it need to be addressed decisively through an awareness campaign as in most cases the main culprit flees the country with huge sums of money collected fraudulently.
Lawyer Ali al-Khelaifi pointed out that Rental Disputes Settlement Committee has a big load of such cases with the same story repeated over and over again. He urged for more steps to monitor real estate companies and their representatives to ensure that they abide by the set rules and regulations for their work licences. In addition, real estate owners should manage their buildings themselves and avoid entrusting them to unfamiliar agents.
Most lawyers stressed the need to launch an awareness campaign among people to combat such fraudulent practices, the daily added.