DOHA, Qatar (NV) – Sleep where? That’s one of the biggest questions that fans have when coming to Qatar to watch the World Cup amid the rush to find rooms in Doha. Some will sleep on cruise ships. Others will camp in the desert. Others will come from all over Dubai and elsewhere.
But in the run-up to the world’s largest sporting event held in the world’s smallest country, the housing issue is hardly limited to tourists. Qatar’s housing frenzy sent rents skyrocketing and forced residents out of their homes, many in a state of disarray.
Mariam, a 30-year-old British resident whose landlord refused to renew her annual contract in September, said the rent ranges from 5,000 Qatari riyals (about $1,370) to 20,000 riyals ($5,490). With no support and unable to pay, she has no choice but to move out and is currently staying at a friend’s house.
“It was really demoralizing,” she said. For fear of reprisal, like other tenants interviewed in the autocratic country, she only named them.
Residents in this country, where expats outnumber locals, say soaring demand and a shortage of rooms ahead of the World Cup have implicitly allowed landlords to raise rents by more than 40% in many cases during this time. short time, forcing tenants to clean up and facing an uncertain future.
The Qatari government acknowledges the “increased demand for accommodation” and encourages tenants to claim they made a mistake by submitting a complaint to the government’s tenancy dispute commission.
About 1.2 million fans are expected to flock next month in the Gulf Arab territory, which has never before hosted an event of the size of the World Cup.
Local organizers sought to dispel fears of an accommodation crisis, pointing out that Qatar has reserved 130,000 rooms, available on the official website. Rooms in hotels, resorts, specially built residences, and three cruise ships in port, they say, start at around $80, though it’s unclear how many options there are for the less affluent. money.
The government said the cap applies to 80% of the rooms but did not respond to questions about whether the cap had been implemented, and the price cap of around $780 for a five-star resort room could be higher, depending on the location. subject to room amenities.
Many long-term residents of hotels and condominiums say they are being pushed out to make way for players, staff, and fans.
“You commit to stay and pay more or leave and don’t know if you’ll have a place to live,” said one British teacher who received a 44% increase in rent from her landlord.
The teacher has sold all his belongings and is now staying with a friend, worried about his future.
Other tenants renewing their leases said signs appeared on their condos marking the buildings as “selected by the government to host 2022 World Cup events and guests.”
The Associated Press said it had seen notices ordering tenants to move out so the building could be handed over for pre-tournament maintenance.
Local organizers also signed an agreement with French hotel company Accor to reserve around 45,000 rooms for fans.
Omar al-Jaber, executive director of Qatar’s Housing Ministry, said the government played no role in the termination of contracts affecting long-term tenants.
“Honestly, we don’t control what happens in the market,” he told AP.
A 48-year-old French pilates coach said when she signed the lease a year ago, her landlord promised he wouldn’t kick her out of the World Cup.
(“Pilates” is a type of mental exercise developed in the early 20th century by German fitness trainer Joseph Pilates, according to Wikipedia).
However, just days before renewing her lease, she received a devastating notice: The landlord couldn’t let her rent out the place for “personal reasons.” The next day, her friend saw her room advertised on Airbnb for nearly $600 a month more than she had paid.
Residents who are scrambling to find new homes because of soaring rents say it’s nearly impossible to find a suitable accommodation within their budget. Most two-bedroom condos on a man-made island off the coast of Doha cost more than $1,000 a night on Airbnb. Luxury apartments on this site can earn $200,000 a month. (KV) [đ.d.]