(DOHA, Qatar)—In August, Carla Boangiu was given two weeks to vacate her apartment to make room for World Cup visitors to Doha. She has been staying at a budget hotel until she can find a suitable new home.
“I have no place to stay from October onwards that is within a reasonable budget, she said.“There are other people I know of who are in the same situation.” Boangiu is one of a number of low-to middle-income renters struggling to find homes or stay in their homes before the month-long FIFA World Cup 2022 begins on November 20.
The event is expected to draw over a million visitors eager to bask in the atmosphere and support their country during the games. Many of these visitors are expected to be willing to pay high prices over a short period to stay in the country during the spectacle. In a statement from AlKaabi CEO of Dlala Real Estate to Doha News in regards to World Cup housing “The demand is increasing and there is a market asking for more real estate…I expect that we will reach 5,000 housing units” All the while many renters have lost their homes in favor of those visiting the sporting event.
A significant number of low-income renters in Qatar are facing evictions, or rent hikes as high as 40% according to Bloomberg’s reporting. This effectively prices renters out of their homes in order to serve the accommodation needs of spectators during the World Cup 2022.
When renters need to find new homes, they are faced with the dilemma of only finding unaffordable accommodations or ones that are unsafe due to location or those in a dilapidated state. This is piled on the reduction of wages and salaries due to the COVID-19 pandemic that have yet to be corrected for many salary earners in the country. Doha News was the first to report on renters who are now faced with the decision to suffer high rents or leave the country during the World Cup or for good.
Boangiu explained the toll this sudden change in her life has had on her. “I am quite a strong person, but this made me feel distressed,” she said.“I am not able to sleep well and am underperforming at work. This precarious situation has given me nightmares.”
Until now, no statement has been issued from the government of Qatar on this situation as the promotion of the sporting spectacle is now taking precedence as people like Boangiu are left in limbo. There is fear that this will not be addressed as homeowners and those in power seek to profit from the FIFA World Cup 2022.