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Wed 20 Feb 2008 01:23 PM

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Qatar denies it has set rent cap

Speculation grows that government will lower cap from 10% to 7% as current rate expires at month's end.

Qatar is still undecided on how much it will allow landlords to raise rents after its current rent cap expired this month, the Qatar News Agency reported, citing the Minister of Municipal Affairs & Agriculture.

Qatar's cabinet is expected to lower a cap on rent increases that landlords can charge by three percentage points to 7%, newspapers reported last week.

The rental cap is scheduled to be discussed by cabinet and, in the meantime, no landlord is allowed to increase rents on contracts signed until the cabinet decision is made, QNA reported, citing Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Khalifa al-Thani.

A 27.7% surge in rental and utility costs spurred inflation in the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas to 13.74% in December, the second-fastest pace on record.

Qatar's revised rent law forbids landlords from raising rents for the next two years, the local Peninsula newspaper reported on Wednesday, also citing Sheikh Abdulrahman.

QNA did not carry a similar comment.

Qatari Finance Minister Youssef Hussein Kamal told Reuters last month the government was considering tightening the rent cap - which expired this month - from 10% as part of efforts to curb inflation.

The Gulf state passed a new rent law on Friday, newspapers reported last week.

The law requires all rental contracts to be registered, with landlords paying a charge of 1% of the value of the rent, QNA said. (Reuters)

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