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Rent increase

I have been staying in an old apartment in Salmiya for the last 20 years. Every 5 years, I have been renewing my contract with an increase of KD 20 in the rent.

The last increase was from KD 120 to 140. I am due for renewal early next year and the owner is planning to increase the rent by KD 100 (new rent to be KD 240).

Is this legal or do I have an option of refusing and paying my rent in court.

Name withheld

Answer: The landlord has the right to double the rent every five years and the law is “mostly” on his side in this regard. As you have seen, we have used the word “mostly”. This means that if you feel that this hike in rent is unjustified you can approach the Rents Court with your plea.

While the landlord has the right to increase the rent by 100 per cent every five years, the tenants also have the right to ensure that they are not being made to pay beyond the market rate.

But you have to remember that the Rents Court will delegate an inspector to check the rents in the area of similar buildings and if it feels that the new rent is in line with the market it will sanction the increase. This is your only hope, although all things look to be going the landlord’s way.

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