KUWAIT:The real estate companies have begun in earnest to collect the rents of tenants who have been living in the apartments without paying rents while Kuwait entered its second stage of return to normalcy plan last week and some economic activities resumed for certain businesses, reports Al Rai daily.

The real estate companies have sent official warning to their tenants, stating that “Those who have not paid rent during lock down period to pay the rent immediately or else we will file court case against them” The real estate companies state that as per the contract, the tenants have to pay the rent for which the tenants have used the services.

Al Rai daily reported that a number of tenants revealed to them that they had received warning letters last week signed and stamped by the real estate companies of the buildings they live in, urging them to pay immediately. One of the real estate company in its warning letter stated, “We would like to inform you of the delay in paying the rent for the apartment rented by you from April to June, kindly pay the dues online or visit the company office to review, failing in both cases we will take legal measures.”

The real estate companies suffered during the lock down period that started in March as a large percentage of tenants were reluctant to pay their rents from April to June. This put these companies in a difficult situation as they found it difficult to operate, especially paying salaries to their employees and carrying out maintenance work. During this period, the real estate company offices were also closed, and the building guard had to convey the message to tenants.  Some companies had capped the rents ranged between 10 and 40 percent only.

Due to fears of company layoffs specially in private sector and exodus of expatriates after opening the airport, they are in a hurry to collect unpaid rent.

Some companies have not decreased rent nor offered any exemptions or discounts, failing to take into consideration the different financial conditions of their tenants, as some companies did not cut their salaries during lock down period, whereas some of them had lost jobs, some were not paid whereas some tenants had to manage with reduced salaries.

Large section of tenants are demanding a reduction in rent or for companies to provide an exemption on rents until the situation improves.

Maintaining these tenants during the coming period will benefit the companies if the right strategies are implemented, especially as the country is moving towards to amend demographics in the coming period. Under these circumstances, real estate companies will find it troublesome to fill empty apartments. Regarding the individual building owners, some of them were quick to offer exemptions and discounts to their tenants. Some of them offered 50 percent discount till end of September, while some of them resorted to various arm twisting methods by building pressure on their tenants to pay the rent either by cutting electricity and water connection or by stopping the elevators.