QATAR Law Q&A: Property Law Overview - May 2012

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Qatar does not have a single, codified, source of property law. Instead, a collection of laws, ministerial decrees and resolutions, dating back to 1963, constitute the country’s jurisprudence on the subject. The general rule in Qatar is set forth in Law No. (5) of 1963, which provides that only Qataris may own freehold estates while non-Qataris have no such right. Law No. (14) of 1964, meanwhile, establishes a system of registering legal instruments that affect land title (the functional equivalent to a recording statute). When read together, these two laws form the legal foundation of Qatar’s regime for acquisition and registration of property.

Can a Foreign Party Own Property in Qatar ?

Yes. In 2002, the Qatari government passed new legislation which loosened restrictions on foreign ownership of property, by allowing nationals from the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to own property in Qatar. Under this scheme, GCC nationals are permitted to acquire up to three (3) properties, subject to restrictions on their collective square meterage and provided that they are acquired for residential purposes only.

More recently, the government has also opened up designated areas of the real estate market to non-Qataris and non-GCC nationals (“non-Qataris”). The laws under which these changes were enacted grant non-Qataris both ownership and usufruct rights in residential real estate that is located in specific investment zones, such as The Pearl and West Bay.

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