Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Kuwait Ghetto-Landlord Problems - The Drama Thickens

I now have several cases  against them - both civil and criminal.  It is unfortunate.  I will give them the benefit of a doubt and say that they were extremely uneducated on the subject of Kuwait tenancy law (rather than calling them blatantly evil people, but serious - they are devils.  Evil djinn.).  Everything they have done thus far is 100% illegal.  Against the law.  But - they don't care.  Not in the slightest.  Thug life, baby.

I have written to the landlord (SMS) and begged HIM to get a lawyer for his own good.  He has no idea of the repercussions of his/his family's thuggery.  You gonna learn today!

In less than a month (3 weeks!) since I was given an illegal eviction notice, (cutting short my mutually agreed-upon lease contract) there has been quite a bit of coercion and criminal activity directed at my apartment/me.

For the past week, I have been to the police station nightly and I have now enlisted the assistance of a second attorney (the first took the money and wouldn't answer any of my calls - for a week - as I called constantly).  My new attorney, Nadia Al-Mutawa, is both a human right and women's rights activist in Kuwait and has been incredibly sympathetic and professional.  [Small world, but I remember her from the occupation of Kuwait (90/91). She was working with the UN.  I liked her then - I like her a lot now.]  The power of attorney I signed with them basically could have read, "Yo!  Go for it!"  Same same baba.

So, my landlord problems started simple:  I really wanted to stay in the apartment and thought they would be reasonable.  They were not and retaliated to my stating, "I want to stay." by deliberately cutting off the electricity just when I arrived home from work.  (Now daily.)  I knew it was intentional.

I went to the police station and filed a report.  Which is the correct/legal procedure. What you do is simple:  Bring your civil ID and a copy of your lease agreement to the police station in your area.  An investigator will review your agreement and send a patrol officer with you (separate cars - so bring a car) to your residence to verify that the electricity is out and that you don't have access to a fuse box. (In my case, the landlord just installed a new lock on our fuse box room so I couldn't get access.  All other apartments have had electricity).  Then you return to the police station and the investigator will attempt to call your hariss or landlord to have the electricity switched back on.  If they don't switch it on, you must go in the morning to the rental court and they will take additional steps to get your electricity switched on (I don't know what those steps are because I didn't have to go).

The next day, it was vandalism.   This is where things got interesting because I learned new things from the police.  I have a basement apartment with a large wrap-around yard.  When I first moved in, I had iron gates made (with a design to match the existing railing) so that people wouldn't come down the stairs.  I also replaced their cheap, ugly outdoor lighting with more expensive lighting (at my cost).  I had some Moroccan lanterns out there and sun sails so that the plants (theirs, by the way) wouldn't die in the heat of the summers.  Well, it appeared that the Incredible Hulk went through in a fit of psychotic rage.  Tore out (by hand) the iron gates from the concrete walls.  Tore out the lighting fixtures.  Threw the Moroccan lanterns in a pile in front of my door.  Cut off the sun sails. Tossed about the plants.  And... I kept a covered metal trash container for dog waste (poop).   I pay someone to keep the yard tidy and pay extra for cleaning up after the dogs.  Well, HulkDevil threw the entire container of dog poop in front of my door.  And then they decided to break off keys in the locks so I couldn't enter my own home.  I had to call someone to break in and when he did - the sister of the landlord flew down the stairs (on her broom) and attempted to retain the locksmith in the yard until he gave her a spare key (not legal on either issue).

Ripped out gates and moved plants

Twisted metal from gate (Hulk style!)
Dog excrement dumped on my welcome mat
(before photo) They ripped out the sun sails
and threw the lanterns (right) into a heap

What I learned:  You rent the apartment; not the yard or surrounding areas.  The landlord can do whatever the hell it wants to with the yard - and that includes removing or destroying your property.  Vandalizing.  Yup.  Legal.

What is CRIMINAL, however, is trying to enter your home or obstructing the doorway so that  you can't get into your home.  Anytime they enter your home for any reason, it is on. (Example:   Oh?  What's that?  You had 30,000 kd worth of gold in your apartment and now it's missing?  That's a case you'll win for sure and criminal charges also.)

What I also learned:  Do NOT piss off Kuwaiti police investigators.  You do NOT want them to be against you.  A senior officer/investigator on duty wanted to investigate the damage himself after he couldn't believe what he was hearing.  He came.  He saw.  He's angry.

I met a very nice Kuwaiti CSI (masters degree in biochemistry!) who came to take fingerprints and photos for the criminal case.   Spoke outstanding English and was very professional.  I was impressed!

Now, I have made friends with everyone at my local police station (night shift); from the tea boy to front desk officers, to patrol police men, to senior investigators and criminal investigators.   They know me on a first-name basis.  I know them on a first-name basis.  I've promised a puppy to one of them; I've promised to cook meals for others.  They are kind and professional and compassionate.  And... I believe that they are after justice.  I can't even tell you how kind these "angels with Glocks" have been to me.  They know I live alone and I'm pretty sure they've got patrols around my house.

The behavior of my landlord and his family living in the adjacent villa is not rational (and the police have stated as much also) They have been threatening and it seems like psychotic behavior.  I am afraid living there.  Yes, I am moving.  No, I don't have to by law.  I have given them notice and asked them kindly to refrain from any more activity which would result in further police intervention.

I am also not driving my car because I fear that the psychos would vandalize it too.  It is safely stored at a friend's house while I drive his (big bad Bedouin) 1-8 (Avalanche pick up truck).  It is what we use for desert "safaris".  It is a beater. I effing love it.  However, if the psychos decide to even sneeze on it; they are going to have to answer to an angry Bedouin man.  And THAT, my friends, is entertainment!

Do not lie to the police

The landlord and his family has been caught in several good-sized lies to the investigators.  The police don't like it when you lie to them.  One night, at the diwaniya (which is what my BFF and I refer to the police station as - since we are there so often and have tea and story hour with the guys).... anyways... one night, the landlord's mother called in to complain against me.  I was sitting across the desk from the investigator.  (They put it through to him because the woman mentioned "an American lady with a dog" and all the guys know me at the diwaniya.)  Long story, but if she wanted to file a report/complaint, she would have to march her bigfatass down to the station to do it. You can't just call them.  Anyhooser, she said that she wanted me out of "her house" with my dog.  The investigator tried to explain that Kuwait actually has laws and that they had broken them by turning off the electricity, etc. and breaking things in the door locks so I couldn't get in.  She said she did that because she was afraid of the dog.  The investigator asked her (in Arabic) for proof that the dog was dangerous.  "Is he outside the apartment?"  "No"  "Did he bite anyone?" "No"  Does he make noise? "Yes" (he doesn't - it is a dog down the street) "Do you have any recordings or have you filed any complaints in the past year?" "No"  "Where is the American woman now?"  "She is downstairs with her big dog and her boyfriend - or maybe many men. I don't know.  You should go talk to her"  (Yes, that's right.  I was sitting across the desk from the investigator - one of my favorites.)  He also knew that my dog has been out of the apartment for over a week because more than 5 police men, a CSI and a senior investigator have been through my apartment gathering evidence and he wasn't there.

Do not piss off the police

An investigator (dunno which one, but I love him) at the police station distributed the story below to the media.  It is his version of the events.

Al Rai Newspaper, 22 April 2015, Page 67

It basically says that someone came to my door to attack me and that I didn't know who it was and that the police helped me.

What happens next?

Well, I have several cases against the landlord and I want justice.  They seem to have an over exaggerated sense of entitlement and that they are above any sort of law.  Perhaps if nothing else, these posts will help a future tenant who would like to move into the property.  Or maybe someone who is already going through it.

I am moving the F out.  I have SEEN crazy coming and unfortunately, couldn't run fast enough in the opposite direction.  I'm going to put all my things into storage until I can find an acceptable apartment somewhere/anywhere.   Maybe move into a smaller furnished apartment that will allow the 2 tenants Kuwaiti landlords hate the worst:  dogs and a single woman.  I can't get out fast enough.  I can't sleep.  I don't eat for days.  I'm having chest pains.  I cry easily. I feel like at any time in the night, Hulk Devil will break through a door or window and come at me (so I'm sleeping with a knife ... because you can't have handguns in Kuwait....)  My big dog is being boarded (I miss him) because they've threatened to kill him.  My little dog is going to stay with a friend.  I'm staying with friends from now on (because starting this weekend, all my stuff is being boxed).

I haven't had the time or opportunity to even look at apartments because I have been at the police station every night.  If the psychos would give me time to look, then I could get out faster, but they obviously don't have more than one brain cell to rub together.

I couldn't make this shit up if I wanted to.

If this kind of craziness is happening to you, don't try to work it out alone.  Get a lawyer.  Find someone(s) who will help you.  And move.

I believe this may just be my final year in Kuwait.


American Girl said...

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this insanity. It's horrible people can get away with this behavior. Sadly, Kuwait just doesn't even seem like the same, hospitable, friendly country I once remember. When people would ask why I loved Kuwait so much more than the UAE my answer was always 'the people'. Now, too much has changed.

I'm glad you're taking steps to be safe, to protect your pets, and to ensure your personal items aren't damaged (any further). I hope you find the perfect home... soon!

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry to hear this Desert Girl and am amazed and impressed at how well you have been handling it. You are definitely doing the right thing to move out and I'm sure you will find a much nicer place to live for you and your pets. Keep your chin up and know that we are all here supporting you.

LWDLIK said...

This is awful, unjust and plain crazy. You have my respect DG. I salute your bravery. Rooting for you. Please call if I can do anything or you need a shoulder. x

Dramapakistani said...

Thats Ironic.. but thats how it has been and will be ..

i guess its an omen .... a sign.. to move....

MoeMania said...

I am sorry your going through this. I hate to hear that your moving out of Kuwait for a juvenile behavior on your landlords part. Nobody should treat anyone like that especially in their own comfort home. This is your home if you are not comfortable are your home then this is a major issue. I read your story but I can tell that there is nothing much police can do. Your at war with these people. I wish you nothing but the best. I hope you find a better apartment for you and your dogs here in Kuwait. This is a rough time.

Just know your in our prayers.

test said...

im not surprised. But.. um one question. Why are you in kuwait anyway? why did you leave the USA (which is heaven) and home HERE of all places?
(i just came back from 5 years in america and im DYING)
if i were you i would leave this place as fast as i can.

MoeMania said...

I could not agree more than the person above me. Why did you leave the U.S for Kuwait. I lived in the States for 8 years and I miss it so bad.

Peter Ikram said...

Well save yourself from undue STRESS and move on to find better place as
It seems very annoying and may affect your life style and work.
Kuwait like many Arab countries have
Housing issues for expats and I wish you all the best on your next move.
My advice is do not deal with garbage anymore as it only will spoil you .