The following forms of ownership are permitted in Qatar:
Freehold ownership is mainly restricted to Qatari nationals.
GCC nationals may own land without restriction in three designated areas managed by Qatari Diar. These are Lusail, Fox Hills and Al Khuraj.
Foreign nationals may own real estate only in specific designated projects, namely the Pearl-Qatar, West Bay Lagoon and Al Khor Resort projects.
“Usufructuary” rights are rights in real estate granting the recipient the right to use and occupy property belonging to another person for a defined period of time (or, if undefined, the life of the recipient) and in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in the instrument that creates the right. The rights granted under a usufructuary arrangement attach to the land and create a legal interest in the property. Non-Qataris can hold usufructuary rights in property used for both residential and commercial purposes for a period of up to 99 years in 18 designated investment areas.
A lease will only grant to the tenant a personal right. The lease will be enforceable against the original landlord, but is not directly enforceable against third parties, and may not be enforceable against a new owner of the property.
The tenant does not have the right to assert and protect his rights in the leased property in his own name.
The personal rights granted under a lease are not capable of being mortgaged as they do not amount to ‘property’ in their own right (although security may be taken by a lender by way of an assignment of the lease from the tenant to the lender in the event of a default by the tenant). The relationship between landlord and tenant is largely regulated by Law No. (4) of 2008 which, amongst other matters, established a designated committee within the Doha Municipality to deal with lease disputes.
Registration of title
All transactions which establish, transfer, alter, cancel or terminate property rights or other rights attached to land must be registered. Any unregistered contracts have no effect other than as personal obligations between the contracting parties.
The Land Registration Department records all rights over land and any changes that might take place in respect of them. Interested parties, judicial authorities or experts appointed by them have access to such records.