Qatar yesterday amended key provisions of a law to arm municipalities with more powers to crack down on illegally partitioned villas and apartments.
The new law has been issued to help the civic bodies fight the dangerous practice of partitioning residential units on a large-scale and offering them to limited-income families on lower rent amid an acute shortage of affordable housing.
No changes of any kind can be made in a building, including villas and apartments, without seeking written permission of the municipality of the area.
The amended law prescribes a fine of QR250 to QR500 per square metre of illegally partitioned area in a piece of property. And the alterations need to be removed after paying the fine.
And if a wall, permanent or makeshift, has been erected, to create an illegal partition, the penalty per square metre will be between QR200 and QR400.
Contractors and others (arguably, subcontractors or engineers) must carry out construction of a house or building after making sure that plans and designs are approved by the municipality.
To carry out maintenance work, repair, renovation, partitioning, expansion, demolition, digging, or levelling of excavated areas in respect of a housing unit also, the municipality’s written permission is needed. Contractors and engineers, including consultancies, overlooking the above condition will attract a fine of between
QR10,000 and QR100,000, according to the amended law (Number 8 of 2014). The law (that amends some provisions of law number 4 of 1985 regulating buildings) was issued by the Emir, H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported that the legislation will become effective after being published in the official gazette.
The new law also makes it mandatory for property owners to take the municipality’s permission for the colour that they choose to paint a building’s exteriors with.
For construction or repair or partitioning a piece of real estate, the municipality’s permission should be taken at least two weeks before starting the work, says the law. No fines or other punishment has been specified for tenants occupying the illegally partitioned units.
The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning yesterday brought out ads in local Arabic dailies warning owners and tenants against illegally partitioning residential units from inside. The ministry also published a map showing how internal partitioning in a residential unit without written permission from the area’s municipality could attract punitive action.