The new year has started and people have been making changes in their lives, from new health and lifestyle options, to better careers, or new homes. So it is no surprise that I have been receiving many questions regarding rental laws in Kuwait and one major question has been about paying rent online.
When discussing housing laws, one thing that needs to be mentioned is that, thanks to technology, there has been a shift in rental laws around the world. New innovations were introduced, such as peer-to-peer housing like Airbnb and online Fintech solutions for payments, such as the local tech companies. The rental laws in Kuwait have not changed; in fact, the Kuwait rental law 35 has been in effect since 1978! But with that said, I think there is a shift in the Kuwaiti market with local concepts such as Ajar Online and Ajarity, online payment platforms for rent collection.
Question: My landlord has asked me to pay my rent using a local app, through a notice, stating that the company will no longer accept cash or bank deposits. I am not sure if I should pay the rent online, as I am not sure if this will legally hold up in court. Can you please let me know if it is legal to pay rent online or not?
Fajer: It is legal for you to pay rent online, and when you are using online payment methods, there will still be proof of payment through the bank. I would just make sure that I am receiving electronic receipts and that you are not being forced to pay commission or other fees for using the app.
Question: I have been living in an apartment for 18 months, but only had a one year contract. Does that mean that my contract automatically renewed itself for a year? And if so does that mean I cannot leave till the remaining six months are over?
Fajer: If the term of your rent contract ends, yet you continue to occupy the space and pay the rent in a timely manner, then your contract is renewed for the period of your rent payment. For example, if you pay monthly, then your contract is renewed month-by-month even though you initially had a one year contract. To put it in simple terms anything beyond the initial term of your contract is renewed according to what you are paying for.
Question: My rent is KD 600 but my landlord wants to put KD 800 on the rental contract and rental receipt. I am not agreeing to this and as a consequence they are refusing to let me pay rent or issue me a receipt. My discussions were all verbal with the haris (janitor) as the manager does not speak English. How do I deal with this?
Fajer: Your landlord is not being logical and although I do not want to assume things, but putting a higher price for the apartment than what it really is could give your landlord a lot of advantages, they can raise the rent even more than the KD 800 in five years, or they can even say that you have not been paying the actual amount!
I suggest you bring in a friend that speaks Arabic to try and talk to them and let them know that this is not acceptable, and if they refuse to take the rent, than you can pay your rent in court.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed