29 May 2012
For those of you who have been following my blog, you will know that I have been sharing a 6 bedroom villa.
But all good things must end and now that Yuliya, my wife, has joined me in Doha and the time has come to move into a house of our own. The urgency is compounded because we have arranged to ship all our household goods from the UK to Doha with a view, eventually to relocating to Australia to live. Shipping goods from the UK has been relatively simple. Yuliya packed most of the house herself and we are not bringing cheap or easily replaceable furniture so it was a matter of buying boxes and packing over quite an extended period ready for pickup the day that she vacated the house.
I spent a week back in the UK helping her to pack and celebrating James’ birthday. It was sad to see the last of our home where, for the last few years, we have invested so much time and effort to make it comfortable and “our own”. However we are starting a new life, new location, living together and focusing on building a sustainable long term future of our own. our challenge now will be to split our time effectively between our families in the north of England, Russia, Ukraine and Australia.
Looking for a Villa
When Yuliya was over here last time we looked at villas and found one that suited us to the ground. It has three large bedrooms, a maid’s room and a few toilet/bathrooms as well as three good sized living areas.
The villa is semi-furnished (in Qatar this means it is fitted with white goods), is in a compound with 17 others, deep swimming pool, and gymnasium.
Our villa has undercover parking for the car and motorbike and there is also parking out the front for a second car and guests. There is 24 hour security and an engineer on call to attend to any issues that might arise. Unfortunately the back garden is virtually non-existent so we will be restricted to entertaining in the house or in public areas within the compound but, in general, we are very happy with our choice.
Finding the villa was really as easy as looking for an appropriate place in the classified advertisements in Qatarliving.com. We had decided where we wanted to live and the sort of place we wanted. We knew that we did not want an apartment, that we want room for guests and that we also want a pool and gymnasium, we also knew that we wanted to be in a small compound with an eclectic mix of neighbors of different national and cultural backgrounds. We also had fixed on price range that would enable us to live comfortably and meet some saving targets as well.
For those people considering a move to Qatar and wondering about the cost of housing, villas that meet these specifications vary in price between about 8,000 and 16,000 QAR per month (depending on location). We managed to find ours toward the lower end of this price range. We anticipate that electricity and water will cost about 300 to 500 QAR per month and that Internet access will cost about the same (wouldn’t it be great if electricity and water cost the same as Internet access in the UK?). There is no council tax, rates or other cost to consider.
Signing the lease for the house was relatively painless. We needed to get copies of my residence permit and passport and a letter stating current salary. We were then taken to the owner’s house where we read the contract (a pretty much boilerplate document with no surprises), signed it and handed over 13 signed cheques.
The cheques include:
- one for the first month rent which is signed and dated;
- eleven for rent for future months rent; and
- one for the deposit which will only be cashed at the end of our tenancy to cover the cost of any damage or misbehavior.
All of this is standard practice. The lease is 12 months renewable and the penalty for not honoring a cheque in Qatar is high. If for some reason we need to leave the country within the term of the lease (end of contact – and by inference residence permit expiry – for any reason) then the lease is automatically cancelled and the property owner may not cash cheques. This is Qatari law.
That was it, deal done and we can move in within the next few days.
Because our current longer-term plans are to move on from Qatar to live and work in Australia we have arranged to move all of our personal effects here from the UK. Hence there is some furniture that is currently in transit and some which we will buy locally. We are both looking forward to this adventure as, although there is some exquisite handmade furniture available here from Cashmere and Pakistan, there is a limited range of good quality furniture such as sofas and lounge furniture that is not designed for local tastes.