DOHA: A Cabinet decision issued yesterday paves the way for quicker disposal of disputes between tenants and landlords over rent and occupancy-related issues.
The decision bars the Rent Dispute Resolution Committees from postponing more than once the hearing of a dispute due to non-availability of a document or expert’s report.
Each municipality has a Rent Dispute Resolution Committee that hears disputes over rent and related issues between a tenant and property owner. The rent contracts signed between the two parties have to be registered with the municipality concerned.
The committees sometimes keep putting off hearings of disputes due to lack of some necessary documents from the authorities concerned or opinion of experts they have sought for help in settling a dispute.
The committees were set up in 2008 following a Cabinet Decision (Number 37 of that year) when a severe housing shortage and rising population were leading to near-explosion in the number of disputes between landlords and tenants.
The Cabinet amended its 2008 Decision vide a new decision (Number 4 of 2014) that was endorsed by the Emir, H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, yesterday. It is to be put into force after being published in the official gazette, Qatar News Agency reported.
According to the new decision, the head of a Rent Dispute Resolution Committee must fix the date of hearing of a dispute and notify the plaintiff and the defendant at least seven days in advance.
The notification is to be sent by registered post or by email or a sticker is to be pasted prominently outside the property in question.
The Committee can take help from engineers or other officials who are employees of the municipality in whose jurisdiction it (the Committee) falls and seek some documents or expert opinion that are needed to settle the dispute.
The Committee has the authority to slap a fine of QR500 on an official who ignores its request for help.
If a plaintiff or defendant or their representatives fail to turn up for the first or even later hearings despite being notified, the Committee can either set aside the dispute that has been brought to it for settlement or can pronounce its verdict in absentia, the Cabinet Decision specifies.