In an effort to effect a stronger regulatory framework for real estate brokers, the State of Qatar (“Qatar”) has recently promulgated Law No 22 of 2017 regulating real estate brokerage activities (“New Real Estate Brokerage Law”), which repeals and replaces the old Law No 13 of 2011 which regulated the same subject.
Some of the more salient points of the New Real Estate Brokerage Law include:
- The licensing mandate: Previously granted to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (“MEC”), the New Real Estate Brokerage Law assigned the regulatory mandate of real estate brokerage to the Ministry of Justice (“MOJ”). A license to practice real estate brokerage activities is issued by the concerned Department at the MOJ. All brokers should be recorded and registered with the concerned department of the MOJ.
- Scope of Brokerage Activities: The New Real Estate Brokerage Law redefined the permissible real estate brokerage activities, which now include the activity of property management. Licenses issued to individuals will specify the permissible real estate brokerage activities in which they may engage.
- Pre-requisites of Brokerage Activities: A legal entity which is willing to provide Real estate brokerage activities should obtain a license from the concerned department at the MOJ. In order to be eligible for such a license, specific applicant criteria must be met, including nationality, capacity, address location and other requirements specified by the department.
- Obligations of the Real Estate Broker: A real estate broker is legally required to adhere to certain mandatory requirements such as protecting the client’s interest, records keeping, data protection, reporting requirements, marketing and contractual arrangements.
- Disciplinary action against Broker: The New Real Estate Brokerage Law provides a non-contentious regulatory mechanism through which complaints against a licensed real estate broker may be raised. A complaint may be filed against the broker at the Real Estate Brokers Affairs Committee where a broker acts in breach of its duties. On the other hand, the real estate broker may file a complaint against the concerned client where, among other things, the client fails to pay the agreed fees.
- Sanctions: The sanctions provided in the New Real Estate Brokerage Law address a wide variety of contraventions which may be committed by a real estate broker, and the respective sanctions vary between fines, imprisonment or both.
According to the New Real Estate Brokerage Law, companies and individuals are required to comply with the provisions of the new law within six months from its promulgation date of 29 November 2017.