Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DG's Thoughts on Kuwait's Archaic Tenancy Law

Ok, now let me discuss my thoughts on Kuwait's archaic tenancy law:  It sucks.

There is rampant discrimination (because landlords CAN because there are NO LAWS AGAINST IT).

  • Single woman (of any nationality/race)?  You're a prostitute.  Forget about the apartment, whore! 
  • Single man (of any nationality/race)? You party all night and bring in prostitutes (who don't have their own apartments because no one will rent to them). You will also make it a "den of vice" bringing in gambling and alcoholism and possibly even drugs.  The landlord's daughters are not safe.  You are The Devil.
  • Kuwaiti single man or woman:  Forget it.  You're just shit out of luck.  Why don't you live with your family?  Something is wrong with you!  Why doesn't your father want you at home?  What did you do
  • Kuwaiti families?  No way.  You will trash the apartment and make noise all night, and your kids will run around screaming and marking up all the walls,  and your entire family will leave all your shoes in the hallway (ok, that last part is true, regardless.  I'm still going around hunting for pairs of size 9 Jimmy Choos, but all I'm finding are crappy slippers).  

So, what do you see in ALL the ads?  "Westerners only".  And even if you see "Foreigners Only" it still means "Westerners" because if you are from many other countries of the world (and there are a few more), they'll just turn up their nose at you like you're going to be consistently late on your rent or divide their property into many little cells (with corrugated steel walls) so that you can sublet to your hundred friends and all of y'alls will cook fish 24/7 (I like fish, by the way.)

"There goes the neighborhood..."

Housing discrimination.  In the US it is a crime.  It should be a crime here.

There should be a proper tenancy law to protect both the landlord and the renters PROPERLY.  There should be rent caps and anti-discrimination clauses.  (I've been looking for the Kuwait Tenancy Law online and I haven't been able to find one.  I've got a book called "Everything You Need to Know About Kuwaiti Laws" which contains the law.  I got it at Muthanna Book Store ages ago.)

Anyhooser, people are starting to talk about update of the Kuwait Tenancy Law since rents are skyrocketing (also known as GREED) and everybody here is suffering; even the greedy who have lots of empty apartments (known as the "cut off your nose to spite your face" method of property ownership.  They would rather have it empty for a year and half than to come down off that magical number - like 900kd for a 2 bedroom "ultra deluxe" (by whose standard???) apartment.

So what do you do?  Set up a tent?  No, because the frickin Municipality has some kind of mental telepathy and can tell when anyone is even close to passing wind on or around government land.  It is called, "encroaching".  They have bulldozers (brought in by quiet and stealth black helicopters when no one ever sees/hears them); they appear from nowhere with one extremely mean guy in a distasha who barks non-sensical things and waves papers frantically;  Scares the shit out of you.  It is meant to daze and confuse.  So just forget the tent idea.  It isn't going to work.  Oh, all this paragraph also pertains to planting seedlings and/or flowers or foliage.  Just pop in a petunia anywhere and see what I mean;  black helicopters and bulldozers, my friends.  Yup.  You heard it from me.


Expat and the City said...

Hahahahahaha! OMG this cracked me up!

When I left Miss Piggy and Miss Bitchy to get my own place I faced some major BS. Including one Kuwaiti building owner offering me free rent if I would be his friend. Gross!

Chirp said...

Oh my God finding an apartment in Kuwait that is decent and good priced is HELL.
When my husband and I were looking for a place they would always ask us where we worked, who our parents are, where they worked, where their houses are, and of course they only want "newly weds" which means no children.
If I had a child after a year will you kick me out???
We spent months looking for a place, they are disgusting, they think people who rent are animals? WE ARE HUMAN TOO!
I still don't understand why the housekeepers room is in the kitchen? Why couldn't they have made it a seperate bedroom. I would like to use my kitchen at night without bothering the poor lady. And their rooms are so TINY!
And no laundry rooms? Even a small nook where I can put my washer and dryer and it doesn't have to be in the kitchen or bathroom.
It is so frustrating!

Anonymous said...

In a recent article the following cost comparisons in the GCC were done between Qatar, UAE and Kuwait as far as rent costs and utilities.
KUWAIT - 2-bed apartment rent: $3,089/yr
Power, water and sewerage for 3-bed apartment: $83/bill
UAE - 2-bed apartment rent: $27,390/yr
Power, water and sewerage for 3-bed apartment: $268.50/bill
QATAR - 2-bed apartment rent: $42,930/yr
Power, water and sewerage for 3-bed apartment: $135.50/bill
As everything in the worst run country in the GCC, Kuwait needs to address the tenancy laws and to address the lack of housing for young Kuwaiti couples who are a growing population of citizens who no longer want to live with the inlaws (the social mores are changing) After reading one of your blog sites on this issue, I decided to interview a Kuwaiti landlord, and sure enough, they don't want to rent to Kuwaitis primarily because they purportedly can stop paying rent and it is hard to get them out and expat tenants don't want them in their building (the great wall of Kuwait). As everything I could go on about the different levels of this issue, as probably you, which would include Chirp's experiences to Kuwaiti experiences, but in one word I can solve this issue and any other issue in Kuwait, they need to 'REGULATE' the system.

Anonymous said...

adlybazaar : when i was looking for a place, all the real estate agents (indians or egyptians like me) would say that the ones i liked were for westerners only. So I mentioned to one of them that me and the wife both have american passports. he paused for about 10 seconds and then said "no sir, I mean real americans". I know what he meant but pretended not to,so told him "but 'we're white too". He didnt know how to reply to that at all ;)

Desert Girl said...

Expat - what's his number? Haaaa!

Chirp - I looked at a whole lot of disgusting, small, weird places before I found mine; and I continue to Thank God all the time for it.

Anonymous 3:09 - that's interesting. Thanks.

Adly - I can TOTALLY see you saying that. ROFL.

Krazychinz said...

I second that!!! I'm a single girl.... as soon as the landlord comes to know he flately refuses to even meet me! Don't worry Mr. Landlord she won't eat you is what the agent says! Bwaahhhaaa.

All the hassels of finding a decent place, only to be told after staying at the same place for two years that I cannot have guests (guys friends, who DON'T EVER STAY OVERNIGHT) even for cup of Coffee. WHAT!!! Here I was being a good girl, never had party's, no LOUD music, no dramas, always paying rent on time, working for a very reputed company as a Manager.... and I'm put in the same category by his WIFE! Who keeps an eye on everybody through her Security Camera.... She seems to have all the time in this world only to waste her precious time!

Search starts again, however as you rightly mentioned the rents have hit the roof! Hoping to find a good place soon in my budget.


Anonymous said...

LOL! Too funny!

Unfortunately, however, the Kuwaiti family renters' stereotype is sadly more accurate than not.

Anonymous said...

I'm a young Kuwaiti and when I first got married most places wouldn't rent to me and my wife. I would walk in speaking Arabic and be told they're "full", walk outside, call them, speak in English and suddenly 4 apartments opened up in 15 minutes.

So basically my options were:

- Stay in a less than ideal apartment who is willing to rent to just about anybody

- Moving in with one set of parents for the next 15 years until they clear new plots of land for you to buy, probably on the border by this point

The government also bans land sales to non-Kuwaitis assuming it'll give Kuwaitis a better selection to choose from. If I wanted to buy land today I'm looking at ~500,000 KD for a pretty small plot. By the time I have that much money (at this rate, never) the prices will be higher, so that's not an option.

I ended up moving in with my parents after an unsuccessful year of living in apartments. We have a separate entrance and our section is closed off to the rest of the house so it's not too bad. Most people don't have that option. I'm still confused that places would actually refuse my money when they had empty apartments sitting there, it seems like terrible business sense.

yousefq8.com said...

I've blogged about this same topic. The discrimination against Kuwaitis is disgusting and ridiculous. Just yesterday I went apartment hunting with my wife and half the places we went to refused to show us the building because I was Kuwaiti.
Aside from that all 2 bedroom places we saw were overpriced. Decent living room but tiny bedrooms with no space to put closets and/or a decent sized bed for 600kd a month? It's depressing and our government should do something to help us in some way.
Check out this recent article called "No homes for Kuwaitis in the land of surplus oil" from Arab times: http://www.arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/203507/reftab/73/Default.aspx

Desert Girl said...

Yousefq8 - Thank you for the link. I will check it out.

It is MUCH easier for a Kuwaiti to BUY a home in the US than it is to rent a home in your own back yard. I sincerely empathize and I wish you and your wife the best of luck.

I hope the government steps in and does something soon.

Anonymous said...


i just recently started reading your blog and i am enjoying it to the max. infact i read it early in the morning when my boss has not arrived and start laughing and the guys here at work starting thinking i am crazy. ( thank you very much )

any hoo...
my mom is a divorcee and we are not kuwaiti and our budget is limited finding a place which is safe, suitable and with in our budget is not hell just hell but impossible. and top of that not many landlords agree to rent to my mom because she was a divorcee with a young daughter. i am not young any more but still we face more difficultly now that we are older

Anonymous said...

Hello there. I was wondering if you knew where the rental court is here in Kuwait, and whether you've ever dealt with them. I cant seem to find any info.