A Tale of Fair(y) Rent in Kuwait

Rent in Kuwait has spiraled out of control; a recent article states that a studio (about 15-17 sq m) in 2013 could be rented for KD 80 to KD 100; the same room in 2014 cost tenants KD 150-KD 160. A one-bedroom flat at the start of 2013 cost around KD 170-KD 190, but now costs between KD 220-KD 250. A flat with two rooms at the start of 2013 cost between KD 220-KD 260, and now can be rented between KD 300-KD 400. A flat with three rooms at the start of 2013 cost between KD 300-KD 340, but now rents for KD 400-KD 600. (link)*

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To some, it is like living in a fantasy world of fairies and orcs, a nightmare; the prices charged by some landlords for their miniscule, matchbox properties.

For long these landlords have had free reign to raise their prices as they see fit, without a care in the world given to how the tenant will be able to afford such prices.

In an effort to quell this negative phenomenon, Kuwait will establish an administrative body to set property rents in a bid to avoid extraordinary price rises (link).

Landlords would be required to lodge their vacant property with the body, who would set rents according to criteria including the area, type of property, age and services.

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Initially, this would seem like a cause for joyous celebration. However, skepticism unfortunately takes precedent, and the following questions are raised:

1) Will this “Administrative body” only oversee the newly vacant properties?

2) Would the decisions taken be retrospective? i.e. will all buildings be required to register and submit to a review?

3) Can prices be brought down for tenants that have rented after the increase in rental allowance?

4) Is this for all residents in Kuwait or only for accommodation for citizens?

It would be a tremendous shame if this were an exercise in futility – with a new administrative body established to employ individuals with no real power/authority to affect the rental prices, which have reached astronomical, stupendous highs.

Landlords have long since been duping the authorities by changing the layout of the apartments as soon as they get their approval – a 2 bedroom becomes 3 with an extra added monthly amount of KD XYZ. In addition, basement parking is converted into commercial storage space, as the residents of Hawally have now become all too familiar with the sight of a 20’/40′ container parked amidst its congested streets to offload its army of boxes.

It would be amazing if the rents were reviewed and brought under control in order to ensure that the landlord is charging a fair price.

Let us wait and see if this makes it past development/discussion phase.

(* link in this article is from over a year ago)

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