Rent cheating is a new form of deception in Kuwait. Today’s story is not new to me, as I have heard about it many times before, except this seems to be the worst. When you fall victim to rent cheaters, you can end in jail, while they can take your money and sell your furniture too. Guess what? If you thought you can leave the country, you can’t, because your name will be on the travel ban list until you settle this matter. It is a pain that no one wishes to deal with, but some expats fall into this trap. My article today may end with an advice, but it is your choice not to trust or deal with rent cheaters.
This letter is from a family that is confronting this nightmare now. They are facing a serious problem if no action is taken by them. Let me explain how this family fell a victim to a rent cheater.
The family of four persons rented a flat in Salmiya four months ago. The haris told them the rent is KD 200 inclusive of water and electricity, plus KD 10 for himself (for cleaning) and KD 200 down payment, which will be returned when leaving the flat. Rent was due by the 5th of every month. This arrangement seemed suitable to them, and the first three months passed by as agreed. But recently, they received a request to pay KD 50 extra for six months for electricity.
The family did not expect this, because these services were included in the rent that was agreed by all. The family declined to pay, but the haris didn’t take no for an answer. Moreover, he began to knock at the door at night, even at 1:00 am, asking for rent from the 24th of every month, threatening that if the family doesn’t pay up, they will have to pay KD 400 in rent.
The family wondered over why they should pay KD 400 as the rent is only KD 210! The answer came quickly – the contract was prepared with KD 400 as rent and not KD 200 as this family were told and used to pay. This family didn’t notice that when they paid KD 200 as rent every month, they were given a receipt of KD 400. So, legally, the crooked owner can claim extra money any time and can submit these receipts in court.
The family considered going to the police, but they were scared they could face more troubles. The building is run by a real estate company, so they are responsible for the tenants. I certainly believe this family needs legal assistance immediately, and the police can always help them in case of harassment and violations. No one should accept to be threatened by others.
A final tip: Please read and understand what you are agreeing and signing on. Ask for a copy in English and your native language if possible. Don’t put your name on something you can’t understand.
By Muna Al-Fuzai