Expatriate families living in partitioned villas and apartments could be in for trouble as The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning has confirmed that any partitioning of residential units is regarded as an explicit violation of the Buildings Organisation Law No 4 of 1985. Find Out: Living in a Partitioned villa or Apartment, is it Legal in Qatar?
The representative body has said families living in partitioned villas and flats are putting themselves at risk and putting undue pressure on utilities and services.
The Central Municipal Council had earlier drafted a set of recommendations, which was debated and forwarded to the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning for approval and action.
The Ministry takes CMC’s recommendations seriously and normally approves them with minor alterations.
The CMC had also urged the ministry to strictly enforce the law regulating buildings (No. 4 of 1985) and the Rent Law (No. 4 of 2008), which stipulate that no alterations should be made in buildings and apartments without permission from municipal authorities.
The CMC noted that people took villas on rent, partitioned them to create small residential units, and sublet them, which is against the law.
Any residential unit, whether a villa or an apartment, will not be allowed to be partitioned without approval from the municipality concerned.
The CMC noted that partitioning was also against Law Number 7 of 1989, which regulates the architecture and specifications of buildings.
What is a partitioned villa?
Peoples/companies regularly purchase or rent out villas or buildings and the partition them so they can make smaller residences with these (maybe rent them out to people who are looking for inexpensive and affordable housing, without getting earlier permission from the relevant authorities like the MME and the Doha Municipality.
Is it easy to get approval from the Municipality to partition or modify a villa?
No, it’s not easy to get approval to partition or modify a villa. First you need to present a complete design of the proposed modifications or changes that is made by an engineering consultancy. The entire process from submitting the design to the approval is costly and furthermore time-consuming.
This is one of the main reasons why peoples/companies partition villas or apartments illegally, because if an illegal partition costs, say QR 10,000, one that is approved by the Doha Municipality may cost double that amount.
Considering it’s illegal, can you still find partitioned villas here in Qatar?
Unfortunately, yes. Even though the government has restricted partitioned villas, they are still available and are even advertised discreetly. Numerous people actually decide on a partitioned villa or apartment, even that there is a risk of getting captured and fined, because they are less expensive than a normal villa, an apartment where only one family can live.
Actually, most of the people who live in partitioned villas have a place with a low-salary background or are single workers.As per by Qatar Peninsula:
Is there a law for this?
Truly, Law No. 4 of 1985 on the Organization of Buildings, which was changed in 2014. Law No. 8 of 2014 has replaced Article 1 and 19 of the Law No. 4 of 1985 with the following:
The construction of buildings, an institutions of works, extension, heightening, support, demolition or maintenance of the building, an adjustment in landmarks of property through excavations, filling or levelling, or the undertaking of any works, for example the connection of services to buildings will not be undertaken without first obtaining the permit from the competent municipality.
The licensee will not paint the facades of buildings and the outside walls of buildings in colours other than those specified by the competent municipality.
No contractors or others will execute any of the works specified in the past paragraphs unless the owner of the property has obtained the necessary license from the competent municipality.
An exemption to the above will be easy maintenance works as determined by a resolution of the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning. Partitioned villa or Apartment
Without prejudice to any greater penalty gave in some other law:
- Any person indicted for violating the provisions of Articles 1/first passage, 12 and 14 hereof this will be sentenced to a fine not less than 200 and fifty (250) Qatari Riyals and not more than (500) Qatari Riyals for each violating square meter, and to a fine of not less than (200) Qatari Riyals and not more than (400) Qatari Riyals for each violating longitudinal meter.
- Any person indicted for violating the provisions of Articles 1/third passage, in this regard, will be sentenced to a fine of not more than (10,000) Qatari Riyals and not more than (100,000) Qatari Riyals.
- Any person indicted for violating the provisions of Articles 1/second passage, 10, 15, 16 and 17, about, will be sentenced to a fine of not less than (3,000) Qatari Riyals and not more than (10,000) Qatari Riyals.
What is the penalty as indicated by the law for partitioning a villa or an apartment without approval?
Contractors and others (subcontractors or engineers) must do the construction of a house or building after making sure that plans and designs are affirmed by the municipality. (Qatar Gulf News)
If they don’t get the approval and still carry on with the partitioning, the altered law recommends a fine of QR 250 to QR 500 per square meter of illegally partitioned area in a piece of property. What’s more, the alterations should be removed after paying the fine. If a wall, permanent or makeshift, has been raised, to make an illegal partition, the penalty per square meter will be between QR 200 and QR 400.
As per the Peninsula Qatar, that could be a minimum QR 40,000.
To complete maintenance work, repair, renovation, partitioning, extension, demolition, digging, or levelling of excavated areas in respect of a housing unit also, the region’s written permission is required. Temporary workers and designers, including consultancies, overlooking the above condition will attract a fine of between QR 10,000 and QR 100,000, as indicated by the changed Law Number 8 of 2014.
What is the Municipality doing to stop these illegal partitions?
The Municipality has taken down against illegally partitioned villas in the last couple of years, and thus there aren’t as many as there used to be. Truth be told, with partitioned villas not in the market as in the past, market sources believe there is a deficiency of housing that is reasonable for the low-income expat families and the single workers.
The Municipality has become more vigilant and has inspectors who are constantly keeping their eyes on construction materials that are transported from one place to another, if they think even a bit of suspicious behaviour and will zero in on the illegal construction or change. Therefore, several partitioned villas and apartments have been honed in on, eliminated and penalties passed out.
If any contracting and engineering consultancy firm is caught illegally partitioning villas, it will be blacklisted by the Doha Municipality and its transactions will be frozen until the firm rectifies its status, after which its name will be removed from the blacklist. (Construction Week)
New residential buildings with units that are affordable to rent have also been manufactured. This, complemented with better road connectivity, is also having an impact in getting rid of partitioned villas or apartments that are used to rent.
Sources: Gulf Times and The Peninsula