Guide: Renting your first home in Doha

  • 6 months   ago
  • 2343
Guide: Renting your first home in Doha

Whether you’re looking for a villa or an apartment in Doha, things can get pretty confusing fast, especially if you’re a new expatriate. Even veteran residents can sometimes in the bureaucracy of it all.

We’ve put together this handy guide on getting you set on the right track to your dream home, as well as what to look out for. But first, a little background on the housing market in Qatar, how it works, as well as a few considerations for you to keep in mind.


Contracts and post-dated checks

Depending on where you’re moving from, the rental system in Qatar may not be that surprising. Simply put, contracts with your landlord (who can be a company or an individual owner – more on that later) are usually one, sometimes two years in duration. Along with a copy of your Qatari ID, and the signed contract, you provide the landlord with post-dated checks with the rental amount when you first move in. In other words, all the landlord has to do is cash in each check every month, but they hold all checks for the duration of your rental agreement invariably giving them the upper hand.

In addition to the monthly rent checks you almost always have to provide a security deposit check (worth one month rent). So if you have a one year rental agreement, you provide the landlord with 13 checks. One for each month of a year plus the security deposit.

Compound vs. Standalone

Another thing to keep in mind when looking at places to live in Doha is that residences here, whether apartments or villas, are either in a residential compound (gated communities often with amenities such as pools, tennis, basketball courts, security, etc.) or, well, standalone, meaning the villa or apartment is un-gated and usually lacks the amenities listed above.

It all depends on what you’re looking for. If you have children, amenities are a big plus because even though you will likely pay more for a place in a compound, you save a lot by not having to pay for a club/gym membership. Keep in mind that some compounds have villas and apartments ( e.g. Dar El Sallam Compound), making them suitable for a bigger range of budgets.

Standalone and compound residences both have distinct pros and cons which we’ve helpfully summarized below.

Compound residences


  • 24/7 Security (although honestly, Qatar has one of the lowest crime rates in the world)
  • Amenities ranging from a small kiddie pool to several pools, tennis courts, basketball, sauna, squash. Some compounds are virtually self-sustaining including small mini-marts
  • Maintenance – some compounds have 24 hour maintenance personnel on or near the premises. Pretty handy for when your AC bites the dust during the many hot summer nights in Doha
  • A nice place to walk – maybe not the most jaw-dropping advantage ever but seeing as how Doha as a city is notoriously anti-pedestrian, having a nice enclosed (and thus separated from the maniacal traffic of Qatar) space is a big plus. At least for those 2 weeks of the year when the weather allows for walking outside without the risk of third degree burns.


  • Price – depending on the location of the compound, facilities, etc. this may vary wildly. Current prices start at 10,000 QAR for small apartment (e.g. the new Al-Fardan compound next to Dar El Sallam mall) while they can easily go up to above 50,000 QAR a month for the massive, luxurious compounds (see West Bay Lagoon)
  • Neighbors – lots and lots of neighbors. While this can be viewed by some as an advantage, others who value their privacy and/or are misanthropes would be less inclined to be surrounded by people 24/7

...[ Continue to next page ]