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Rent Increase

Recently we have seen a jump in the rents of residential apartments. Can you please tell all the expatriates something about the rental law in Kuwait.

Does the rental agreement fix the rent for 5 years? Can the landlord raise the rent before the expiry of 5 years? Can the landlord ask you to leave the flat before the end of the contract period?

If the agreement is for one year but renewable automatically every year (unless notified), in this case can the landlord increase the rent every year? What is the limit of rent increase.

We would appreciate your valuable information.

Name withheld

Answer: Please remember that even if the contract is for one year and it is automatically renewed without any change it remains valid for five years.

This means that if the contract is not changed, with the consent of the tenant, then the rent can’t be increased for five years. This action fixes the rent for five years. The landlord can request an increase — if the real estate market is seeing an increase in rent — and if the tenant does not agree, the case can be taken to the Rents Court. The court then appoints an inspector who checks the market conditions and makes a recommendation to the court.

This inspector can recommend, if he feels the market conditions don’t warrant a change, that the rent remain the same. He can also ask for a certain increase which satisfies both the tenant and the landlord. In fact, he can make any recommendation.

Acting on this recommendation, the court then takes an independent decision.

Meanwhile, talking about the other issue, the landlord has the right to raise the rent by as much as 100 per cent after five years. If the landlord does so, there is nothing anyone can do to counter his decision.

The landlord can’t ask you to vacate the flat before the expiry of the contract except in some conditions like you are violating the rental contract by sub-letting the premises, he needs the flat for his personal use or the building is over 25 years old and needs to undergo extensive repairs or has to be demolished. 

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