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Flat rent increased but amount on contract much higher

As an expat I appreciate your free legal advice column in the newspaper. Today I have the following question: My concern is about our flat rent. We’ve been staying in the same flat for almost 16 years now. Recently the administrator informed us that the rent will be increased from KD 270 to KD 350.

We paid KD 350 and the landlord issued both the invoice and contract for KD 450. We believe what they are doing is wrong. Please advise what we should do? We’ve been hearing news that the building might be subject to demolition as it is the only old building in the area.

Name withheld

Answer: First of all, please understand that the landlord has to issue you an invoice for exactly the same amount that you are paying. Secondly, the same amount has to be mentioned in the contract.

This is your right and you can demand that you get a correct receipt and contract. A number of landlords are reported to have resorted to this method of giving the wrong invoices so that when they raise the rent a little later they are legally covered.

Having said that, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the landlord has the right to raise the rent by 100 percent every five years although you can possibly get relief by seeking arbitration from the rental court if you feel the rent is too high. The landlord can also have the building vacated, through a proper eviction notice, if the building is over 25 years old and he wants to demolish it.

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