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KUWAIT: The law in Kuwait allows a landlord to increase rent only after five years from the date of signing the first lease. He is allowed to increase any amount up to 100 percent of the present rent after the five years only. On the other hand, the tenant can refuse this increase if it was unreasonable and demand the court to evaluate the increase.
But what do you do when the landlord or more likely the haris is knocking on your door, threatening that you must pay an increase in rent – even if the legal five years is not up.
You refuse and in a steady stream of harassments and annoyances, they try to make living in the building impossible. According to Attorney Mubarak Mijze’a you have a few options:
1. File a police case. “If the landlord cuts the water or electricity, for instance, the tenant should go to the police station to report the incident and have a policeman go to his flat to prove his statement. And the tenant should register all incidents such as the malfunction of the air-conditioning system or the elevator,” he told the Kuwait Times.
2. Pay at the court. “If the landlord demands an illegal or unreasonable increase the tenant can refuse it and start paying at the court. the tenant should be careful to pay before the 21st of the month. Otherwise the landlord can expel the tenant from the flat for not paying the rent,” added Mijze’a.
3. Fight back by asking for a rent discount. A tenant can demand the decrease of the rent in some cases. “If the tenant suffered from problems and lack of services in his building the judge may even decide to decrease the rent.
Reporting the various abuses at the police station will support the tenant’s case at the court, and will also serve as a warning for the landlord to refrain from further abuses,” the attorney concluded.
A new center has been set up in South Surra to receive complaints from tenants who live in the Hawally governorate.
This will help collate complaints against specific landlords and also ease the burden the various police stations.