By Beatrice Thomas
Penalties will also apply to anyone who sells real estate units showing fake designs or who receives loans without approval from authorities
Developers in Qatar could face jail or hefty fines if they fail to meet handover deadlines for new units or sell sub-standard projects under tough new laws to regulate the state’s booming real estate sector, it was reported.
According to the new laws, issued by Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al Thani on Tuesday, the penalties – up to one year in jail and a maximum QR50,000 ($13,732) fine or both - will also apply to anyone who sells real estate units showing fake designs or who receives loans without approval from authorities, The Peninsula Qatar newspaper reported.
However, the fine will increase to a maximum QR200,000 ($54,928) for developers who fail to start a project within six months of receiving approval and do not provide adequate reasons.
Developers, which have to register the units with the Ministry of Justice, could even lose their licence, the English daily reported.
The new laws state that off-plan sales must be approved by relevant authorities, with direct payments by buyers for properties to be made through the bank and not in cash.
The report also stated that each real estate project should have an independent bank account, with any delay to a project to be discussed with the relevant financial institution.
It also said that advertisements or participation in exhibitions will require prior approval from authorities, with advertising required to comprise a developer’s commercial name, address, details of the project, the prices for each type of unit and method of payment.
Last month local analysts predicted Qatar’s real estate market could double in size in 2014 as it responded to a raft of mega infrastructure projects being built.
The value of real estate transactions jumped 71.4 percent to QR4.8bn ($1.32bn) in January this year compared to QR2.8bn ($769m) for the same period last year.
However, analysts suggest that Qatar’s real estate market will witness a further boom in 2014, with the trend tipped to continue over the next few years as a result of massive government investment in the country’s infrastructure development, including 2022 World Cup related projects, The Peninsula Qatar report added.For all the latest real estate news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
At least there is control. In Abu Dhabi, construction companies who have stalled projects have still not paid investors their money back.