Kuwait - Renting an accomodation
The majority of residents in Kuwait rent their homes for the duration of their stay. During the last two years rents have increased dramatically (often by 100%) as a result of the increased demand in decent accommodation. Hopefully this trend will reverse over the next few years due to supply exceeding demand. Most rents are quoted monthly and do not include the costs of water and electricity.
When negotiating your employment contract make sure that you have an amount allocated that is sufficient to cover accommodation. Depending on your personal requirements, apartments can be found for anything from KD300 to KD1500 and villas range from KD500 to KD2000 per month.
Things to consider
When discussing your requirements with an agent be very clear about what you are looking for and don’t be afraid to threaten to walk away if you are directed to an unsuitable accommodation. As many transactions in Kuwait involve negotiation agents, they will often assume that, even if you have stated that your maximum budget per month is KD500, they may be able to get you to pay more. Equally, it is not uncommon to be taken to an accommodation that it is in a poor state. Keep an open mind as prior to moving in you can negotiate for everything to be painted, repairs to be made etc. Be bold, but not unreasonable, in your negotiations and meet the agent in the middle.
As contracts are always written/issued in Arabic make sure that you have the document read/translated by someone you trust to ensure that you are not over-committing yourself. Standard accommodation leases are for a period of one calendar year. Thereafter the lease continues on a monthly basis, according to the same terms and conditions, unless agreed otherwise in writing.
Kuwaiti policy protects the landlord very well. A landlord may increase rental for a property during the lease period to a maximum of 100%. The tenant has two choices; to accept the increase or move out.
A landlord has the right to evict tenants after a rental period of five years on production of a court notice prior to termination of the contract. Failure to produce a court notice means automatic renewal of the lease for a further period of five years. Within the five-year rental period a landlord is permitted to ask the tenant to vacate with a nine-month notice period. Should the tenant not vacate the premises they will be seen to be illegally occupying said premises.
Should the landlord sell the premises during the period of the lease, the tenant is not affected.
Always carry out an inspection of your proposed new
accommodation with the agent/landlord during which time you can note any
areas of concern. This is an ideal opportunity to arrange to have the
accommodation re-painted etc.
Electricity and Water
220 volts AC 50Hz single phase. Plugs are of the UK-type (flat, three-pin plugs).
All accommodation has electricity and the majority of accommodation has mains water. As costs are not usually included in the rental a visit to the local office of the Ministry of Water and Electricity is required. Make sure that you take a copy of your Civil ID as well as your rental agreements and, on payment of a refundable deposit, the electricity will be connected and water provided in your name. Billing tends to be once a year. On moving from a property you will need to pay any outstanding amounts prior to having your deposit returned.
Should you have a garden that requires regular watering it may be beneficial arranging for an external water tank to be installed. ‘Sweet water’ is delivered free as and when required.
There is no piped domestic gas in Kuwait; gas cylinders can be purchased from and refilled by any co-op. The initial purchase of a cylinder will cost approximately KD8 and refills cost 750 fils. A second cylinder is recommended in order to avoid running out of gas in the middle of cooking.
Due to Kuwait’s geographical layout location is not imperative when choosing accommodation. Expatriates tend to reside in the areas of Salmiya, Salwa, Hawalli, Jabriya, Mahboula and Fintas and rents are therefore higher than they are a 10-minute car ride away.
Most apartment blocks have maintenance services written into the contract. Should you have a problem with your plumbing etc. speak to the harris (caretaker). Should you live in a villa contact your landlord.