Muna Al Fuzai

Do we have a law in Kuwait that forces owners of buildings to allocate a car parking area for tenants at the time of the design and establishment of the structure? If yes, then does the municipality have the power to take legal action against owners who either don’t build a car parking area or rent out the basement as a storage area? If not, then we need such a law as soon as possible.

A new building opens up for renting, but it is first come, first serve when it comes to parking. You could be one of the few tenants to block a space for your car, otherwise you have to search the entire neighborhood to find a spot! You will need to look around for a mosque, school or supermarket to park your car there. This is wrong and uncivilized, and moreover, these parking spaces should be for the customers, parents or worshippers, and not for residents of buildings. The law should serve all members of the community – the renters as well as landlords. A law without implementation is just ink on paper.

Are we confronting a parking problem in Kuwait? Yes – please don’t say all countries are the same. Does this place unnecessary pressure on traffic and pedestrians? Is it a threat to people’s lives? Yes, it is. Then why is the municipality not intervening, I wonder?

Some government bodies have leased large buildings downtown, but these were not designed to receive thousands of visitors daily. Visitors usually search for a parking spot and then cross many roads to reach their destinations. Those who cross the road could be sick, old or with a child, but who cares!

Globally, every residential compound or complex should have a parking area for at least one car for each flat. That’s what the books say. But even handicapped parking spots can be taken away because the building owner has no disability, so he/she doesn’t feel the pain. This is sad. A visit to areas like Hawally or Salwa reveals the large number of parking violations. I don’t blame the tenants, as they have no choice, but I do blame the municipality for not mandating building owners to act according to the law for everyone’s safety.

Some buildings are small, with four flats for instance, but the greed of the owner leads him to rent the roof and the basement and even divide flats into two to collect more money. All these renters will have at least one car, so where they will park them? It is easy to call for penalties against violating tenants, especially those who leave their cars on the sidewalks, but this is not the solution.

The answer lies with the municipality, which should play its role in preventing buildings renting out more than the authorized number of flats and forcing the owner to design and build underground parking for residents before granting him the permission to build or rent. In case of violations, he should be fined and punished. This is the only way out for the parking problem.

By Muna Al-Fuzai