Soaring shop rents hit small businesses

January 28, 2014 - 2:52:40 am

DOHA: Shop and warehouse rents are going through the roof with small businesses urging the government to intervene and restrict rent increases.

In some areas of Doha, shop rents have multiplied nearly three times in the past couple of years, while warehouse rents in the Industrial Area have soared up to an incredible 16 times in the past several years.

Acute shortages of shops, warehouses and office space for petty trades in Doha is prompting commercial property owners to raise rents unjustifiably.

According to Mohamed Al Ashrafi, a businessman, the rent of a 16 square metre shop used to be QR7,000 a month. “Imagine that now that rent is QR25,000.”

He said that in the Industrial Area warehouses that were available on monthly rent of QR5,000 until a few years ago, now command up to an incredible QR80,000.

These are the days of skyrocketing shop and warehouse rents and the trend has forced many small businesses out of the market. “Many businesses have closed down because they were not able to bear the rising burden of rents,” said Al Ashrafi.

Another businessman, Salem Abdullah told Al Sharq that due to escalating shop and warehouse rents, commodities of mass and daily use were becoming dearer.

“It is high time the government intervened and introduced a law limiting the extent by which a landlord can raise the rent of a shop or warehouse,” said Abdullah. “A law is the only solution I see,” he added, claiming that in some areas commercial property owners were literally doubling rents overnight.

He said many petty traders wound up their businesses because they could not afford to pay exorbitant shop and warehouse rents. Then, there are several of them who went bankrupt and landed in jail, said Abdullah.

Al Ashrafi said that skyrocketing rents were hitting small businesses hard and that, in turn, would affect the inflow of foreign investment and eventually it is Qatar’s economy that would be impacted.

That is why it is necessary for the government to take urgent measures to keep spiralling rents under check by introducing a law that restricts landlords from hiking rentals beyond a certain percentage, said Abdullah.

The Peninsula

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