KUWAIT: Alaa went to the haris (janitor) of his building and paid KD 230 in rent, only to be told that the rent will go up starting next month, to be KD 330. Alaa was shocked and was not able to reach the owner to convince him to reduce the increase to KD 50. Options seemed to be limited for the man whose salary is no more than KD 650, which means he must pay half his salary in rent.

Alaa, like hundreds of renters, is in limbo, as he is not able to rent a new flat, nor able to afford the five-year increase according to the law.

The law stipulates that rents can be raised every five years after signing the contract, but does not stipulate the increase percentage, so it does not follow certain rules. Real estate experts and lawyers said rent increases have become up to the “mood”, because the law does not decide the increase percentage and left it to the owners to improvise!

Due to this reality, there are much differences due to the unclear law as far as tenants are concerned, so they resort to court, especially that they cannot afford the increases, while their salaries remain fixed, while rents have started to eat between 50 and 60 percent of their salaries.

Lawyer Hussam Al-Tunaib said the current increases are controlled by the market, adding that there are no clear standards that govern the increases. He said the beneficiary of the current law is the businessman and not the renter, and it is in his interest to have this law continue because it allows him to increase the rent as he sees fit. — Al-Rai