Qatar – The Real Estate Regulatory Authority, which will become functional within two months, will implement a slew of new strategies to ensure the development of the real estate sector and the transparency of dealings.
Speaking to Qatar TV, Ahmed al-Emadi, director of the Legal Affairs Department at the Ministry of Municipality, said the authority will be the umbrella body combining the new strategies and policies meant for real estate development.
His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued in April issued Amiri Decision No. 28 of 2023 establishing the public authority for regulating the real estate sector. Its formation comes within the framework of implementing the real estate sector’s development strategy, and the authority will work within Qatar’s general policy to organise and stimulate the real estate sector while contributing to the sector’s development.
Al-Emadi said there are seven axes concerned with implementing the authority’s policies and said these include governance of the real estate sector through the harmonisation of strategies and policies among the authorities concerned.
“The authority will be the umbrella that combines these strategies, and a real estate platform that seeks to provide data with transparency and clarity will be established,” he explained, adding that the platform will be launched early in October over three phases.
The first phase will include data and information that will be provided to those concerned. The data will include occupancy volumes and deals in different regions, as well as information of interest to individuals and investors in general.
The second phase will include electronic linking between government agencies while in the third phase, real estate services will be provided and fully activated. This phase will take place within a year or two from the launch of the platform.
The authority will issue licences, supervise and monitor the effectiveness of various activities while encouraging investment in the real estate sector through incentive policies and revitalising procedures. Also, it will monitor financing while dealing with effectiveness and protecting real estate transactions by controlling and governing procedures.
Further, the authority will resolve disputes in a speedy manner and ensure justice. The legal treatment and filling of gaps through the continuous updating of laws and their amendment or cancellation will also be carried out by the authority.
Regarding the timeline set for the new authority to go functional, al-Emadi explained that Amiri Decision No. 28 of 2023 stipulated that the provisions of the law should be implemented from the date of its issuance and be published in the official gazette.
Al-Emadi said the real estate sector in the country makes up 6.5% of the total economy while the volume of investments in the real estate sector exceeded QR86bn in 2022 with an increase of 2.6% compared to 2021.
He explained that the efforts of the Ministry of Municipality to develop this sector have been continuing since the establishment of the ministry, starting in the 80s when the Building Regulation Law and the State Property Management Law were issued. “These efforts continue to this day. After the approval of the comprehensive urban plan, a structure was developed for the sector in co-ordination with the private sector. The most prominent step for developing the real estate sector was the recommendation to establish the Real Estate Regulatory Authority,” he said.
Al-Emadi explained that one of the most important functions of the authority is the establishment of the Real Estate Development Licensing Committee and the introduction of Article 7 in the new law that stipulates the obligations of the developer.
It stipulates the delivery of units on time and according to the contract between the owner and the developer and defines the supervision process according to licenses and technical specifications. The law also mandates not to implement more than three projects at the same time to ensure smooth workflow and timely delivery of projects and to provide a consultant and legal office for the project. The authority will also have a supervisory role that includes monitoring the fees imposed by real estate companies on clients.
Regarding the most prominent upcoming projects, al-Emadi said there are three main legal steps including the Urban Planning Bill, the Owners Union Bill to bridge the current gap and the Public and Private State Property Bill. “Work is underway on a new Building Bill. With the presence of the new authority, a comprehensive legislative review process will be conducted for legislation that is not within the competence of the Ministry of Municipality,” he said, explaining that the authority will provide a single window that provides a set of services and information in a clear and transparent manner.
Al-Emadi said that there will be new controls as they have become necessary to spend money on the project to ensure the proper functioning of the project and the delivery of real estate units on time. “These financial payments shall not be disbursed after the approval of the authority is granted. The penalties include a fine or imprisonment if the developer doesn’t use the funds for the purpose of the project,” he said. He pointed out that Their Excellencies the Minister of Municipality and Minister of Justice will issue the executive decisions of the law.