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Vacate building

I have been living in a building since October 2007 with my family. The rent was KD 200 before the landlord increased it by KD 20. Now, this month, we came to know that the building has been sold to someone else. The owner sent us a message, through the building watchmen, that he wished to talk to us.

When I called him, he told me that he is planning to demolish the building by July or August next year and we should leave the building by that time. He has now sent all the tenants a letter saying that we should be out of the building by Aug 1, 2015.

None of the tenants has signed the letter since he is not “offering us anything” or even allowing us a few months of stay in the building without payment of rent, which is the norm all over Kuwait. My questions are:

1.In this situation what should we do?

2.Are we entitled to some money or a few months of rentfree stay in the building?

.What is the proper route that both the tenants and landlord should follow?

4.Should we sign the letter?

5.Can he increase the rent?

Name withheld
Answer:
The landlord is within his rights to have you vacate the building if he is demolishing the place. You are lucky that your landlord has given you more than a whole year’s notice to vacate the premises although a maximum of a threemonth notice is enough.

Yes, it is a tradition in Kuwait to let people stay in such buildings for a few months without paying the rent but it is not the law nor can you take a stand on the issue. Normally, the landlords resort to such an action when they want to get the building vacated in a hurry and want to avoid any legal action which could affect their plans.

The proper route in all such cases is for the landlord and tenants to sit down and come up with an agreement on the issue. There is no option for you but to sign the letter which requires you to vacate the building because the landlord can also take you to court, especially if the building is over 25 years old. On the issue of rent, the current landlord has to respect the agreement with the previous landlord and can only increase the rent if it has been five or more years since the last increase.

The new landlord can, however, go to court if he feels the market conditions warrant an increase. But in this case the court follows a certain procedure of gauging the market conditions before it accepts or rejects the request.

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