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KUWAIT CITY, Nov 29: The National Assembly unanimously approved the bill on amending the Housing and Real Estate Affairs Law in its second reading on Wednesday. The bill is aimed at combating monopoly of land and undeveloped plots; and to regulate the process of the property owner’s authorization for another individual or a company to carry out sale, rental, and mortgage procedures on his behalf. The bill considers such authorization a final contract for selling a house or any real estate property to another party.
The amendment aims to prevent traders from engaging in feudal practices to control real estate prices, especially in private residential areas. It stipulates a grace period of 12 months for individuals and entities to modify their conditions; starting from the enforcement of the law; otherwise, the plots are considered sold and registered under the name of the authorized party.
The bill allows owners of real estate properties to authorize others to manage their plots or real estate properties according to Law No. 67/1980. This authorization is not eternal, permanent, or inflexible. Permanent authorization, which cannot be canceled, was widely used for manipulation as the authorized individual or company is usually the owner, but the plot or house is still registered under the name of the original owner. The annual fee is KD10 per square meter if the size of the plot is more than 1,500 square meters and it is doubled every year thereafter until it reaches KD100 per square meter. The bill will limit, if not eliminate, the feudal practices of some major real estate traders. It does not allow banks and financial institutions to grant loans to individuals and companies for the construction of two or more houses, as the loan should be for the construction of one house only. It limits banking support for ordinary citizens and prevents the use of banks’ funds for illegal businesses, which negatively affects housing conditions.
Chairman of the committee MP Fayez Al-Jomhour said the objective is to shorten the waiting period for housing grant applicants, indicating the ratified bill is just one of several bills aimed at finding final and comprehensive solutions to the housing issue. Assembly Speaker Ahmed Al-Saadoun praised the efforts exerted by the committee in the previous and current rounds of the 17th parliamentary term, as well as the cooperation of the government, which led to the ratification of such an important bill — one of the demands of citizens.
In addition, the Assembly unanimously approved the proposed amendment of Disabled Affairs Law number 8/2010 and referred it to the government. Rapporteur of the Disabled Affairs Committee MP Hani Shams disclosed that the amendment includes the following:
■ Add Kuwaiti men and women taking care of non-Kuwaiti third-degree relatives to the beneficiaries of the law.
■ Transfer the supervision of special needs schools from the Public Authority for Disabled Affairs (PADA) to the Ministry of Education with PADA as the oversight authority.
■ Reduce the working hours for employees taking care of relatives with minor disabilities.
■ Grant the same privileges to the second individual taking care of a relative with a severe and permanent disability.
■ Grant full-time vacation for the second individual taking care of a relative with a severe and permanent disability once the first individual completes the specified number of years to avail of the early retirement privilege.
■ Expand the provision of free prosthetic devices to include individuals with minor disabilities and nurses to take care of the disabled in coordination with the Ministry of Health or grant cash for this purpose in coordination with the Ministry of Finance.
■ Reduce the number of years required for employees taking care of disabled relatives to be referred for retirement.
■ Cancel the real estate and housing loan amount limit for families with disabled members. The current law stipulates KD20,000 as the maximum amount, which means that in case the family has more than one disabled member, the share of each will be lower than KD20,000. The proposed amendment cancels this provision, such that there is no limit to the loan amount.
■ Reduce the required number of years for a disabled employee to retire to 10 years.
■ Reduce the required number of years for a male or female employee taking care of a disabled relative to retire to 15 years.
■ Public institutions should not cut any of the allowances and privileges granted to employees taking care of a disabled relative. The existing law allows some public institutions to cut some allowances granted to housewives due to the privileges they obtain for having disabled children.
■ Increase the allowance for hiring a driver for the disabled from KD 100 to KD 120.
■ Design roads and sidewalks to be suitable for the disabled. Assembly Speaker Ahmed Al Saadoun adjourned the session until Dec 12, 2023.
By Saeed Mahmoud Saleh
Al-Seyassah/Arab Times Staff
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