KUWAIT: A general view of buildings in Kuwait City and its surrounding areas in this archive photo. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Real Estate Union released a statement yesterday criticizing regulations that ban any Kuwaiti commercial company from owning properties in the country in case it has one or more non-Kuwaiti part owners. According to the union, the justice ministry has recently stopped transferring properties to companies that do not have full-Kuwaiti shareholders, based on a law that was issued in 1979.

“Among the most important goals of the Real Estate Union are to create a secure umbrella that includes real estate owners in Kuwait to promote in the business community, defend the real estate owners’ rights, and carry out an effective role in organizing and developing the sector,” the union said.

“The union would like to announce, based on statements of several of its members, that the real estate registry and documentation department at the Ministry of Justice has stopped transfer of property to any real estate to shareholding company, public or closed, until after producing a list of company shareholders at the time of its formation, as well as a list of its current shareholders” that show that all of them are Kuwaiti, it explained.

“This is as per article 8 of decreed law 74 for 1979 to organize Kuwaitis’ ownership of real estate, which bans ownership of real estate for companies in which non-Kuwaitis are partners, while companies must guarantee that there are no foreign shareholders among its shareholders’ list.”

The union slammed this procedure which it says “causes direct and unacceptable damages” to Kuwaiti companies, especially real estate firms listed in Boursa Kuwait. “The Kuwaiti stock exchange system allows non-Kuwaitis to buy stock, which means they can buy shares in a real estate company; at which point said company would be barred from acquiring any property inside Kuwait!” the union exclaimed. It urged action to change this law “that hurts efforts to attract foreign investors, promote Kuwait’s stock exchange market and turn Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub.”