Water meters installation underway; Crisis between landlords and tenants

KUWAIT CITY, May 18: Is the reduction in rents a “price” for the water bill? Well, we have to wait until August 22, as a new phase for tenants of investment apartments will begin with the introduction of new tariffs for water prices, which has risen from 800 fils to KD 2 per 1,000 imperial gallons.

Installation of meters in investment buildings is already underway. Finally, it will come down to the water bill figures which many tenants did not pay attention to before. While it is still difficult to know the actual value of the monthly water bill for each apartment, since the consumption and expenditure rate for each unit is not exactly known, real estate experts say the average monthly bill per apartment (one room or two rooms) will be between KD 10 and KD 15.

According to experts, there is a crisis between landlords and tenants. Most contracts signed between the two sides stipulate that the owner/landlord bears the water bill, which means that the latter has two options – either pay the additional cost that will be incurred on the above mentioned increase subject to increasing the monthly rent on tenants, or the landlord will force tenants to pay the water bill.

In this context Tariq Al-Ateeqi, a real estate expert, said the reduction of rent by about KD 20 or KD 30 would constitute a mutually acceptable settlement between the landlord and tenant, as the reduction is equivalent to the expected increase of the water bill.

On his part, an official from the Union of Real Estates indicated that this step will contribute to “lesser rents than expected”. He stressed that the contracts between owners of buildings and tenants may need to change before using water meters, adding that the same applies to the electricity bill.

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