Proposals are being discussed including an amendment to rent law which may include a stipulation that “it is not permissible to evict tenants from private residences in case they fail to pay rent throughout the period of March 12 to June 30, but the rent must be paid”, revealed senior legal sources to Al Anba daily.
The law allows for the possibility of allowing rent payment in installments with the understanding that the rented property had been used. They noted that “starting from the 1st day of this month, the current law for rents became effective, indicating the rent must be paid on the date due, which is from the beginning of the month until the 20th without installments.
As for commercial rental contracts, especially those on investment contracts, they will also not face eviction and be allowed to pay rent installments if the court determines that they deserve it, in light of the total and partial curfew. Sources denied the existence of any amendment stipulating deductions or exemptions from rent.
In view of the Cabinet’s decision stipulating the activities permitted to work and those not permitted to work during the curfew, sources said it will be on the onus of the judiciary to examine the legality of cases of exemptions from the rents owed during the mentioned period, which their tenants see as not deserving, similar to the decisions to exempt most commercial and investment contracts from rent.
The sources highlighted that businesses that were not allowed to be opened during the curfew period will be examined in court on a case by- case basis, then ruling will be issued against eviction, and allow payment by installment or exemption. The daily reports that ruling will take one to three years up to the Cassation level.
The same sources also emphasized the unconstitutionality of issuing an amendment to the Tenancy Law by exempting rents for a specific category of tenants – even if their business is investment, while the contract is law binding on the parties of the contract, noting the importance of creating a special department to consider rent cases that will be estimated in thousands.
In the second week of July, 416 new cases appeared before the rental department court, including 125 cases demanding the eviction of tenants from apartments for failing to pay rents in the last 4 months during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, two cases were filed to recover rents worth less than KD1,000. Dates were organized for court deliberation and the tenants were informed of the dates of these cases.
Speaking to a local daily, Lawyer Saud Al-Shammari asserted, “The landlord has no right to cut off the water and electricity of the tenant or force him out of the house even if the tenant refuses to pay the rent. He stated that there is a law regulating the relationship between the two parties (the landlord and the tenant).”
Al-Shammari said that it is permissible for the tenant to adhere to judgement by halting the enforcement of the contract and applying the decision of force majeure (act of God) or applying the proposition of emergency or exceptional circumstances with his right to demand a reduction of rent, in proportion to his conditions and the discretionary power of the judge.
Source : Al Anba daily / TimesKuwait