Accommodation in Kuwait
Rental prices have shot up in recent years, making housing increasingly expensive in Kuwait. Nevertheless, there is a wide variety of accommodation in Kuwait and expats are not likely to struggle to find suitable housing to fit their budget.
Types of housing in Kuwait
The majority of housing in Kuwait comes in the form of apartments, villas (large houses) and floors (which occupy a single floor of a villa). There has been much construction in Kuwait in recent years and expats will find a number of newer apartment blocks to choose from. Both short-term and long-term rentals are available.
Homes in Kuwait are generally quite spacious, and may even have extra rooms available for domestic staff, a luxury that many expats may find they can afford in Kuwait. Expats will find that they can enjoy an active lifestyle in Kuwait as housing complexes often have facilities such as swimming pools, gyms and tennis courts.
Although there are a number of housing compounds in Kuwait, they are not as common for expats as in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, and expats tend to live in apartment blocks and villas nestled among the local Kuwaiti population.
Finding accommodation in Kuwait
With a wide variety of options, expats will find it quite easy to find accommodation in Kuwait. It is likely that one’s employer will assist in the house-hunting process, and will finance it in part or in full. The employing company often also becomes the primary signatory on the lease, thus carrying the burden as the sponsor of the expat.
Those searching for accommodation alone should consider using a real estate agent; there are a number to choose from in Kuwait. Online listings are also easily accessible as are classified ads in local English-language newspapers.
Word of mouth is another good way of finding accommodation in Kuwait. The transient nature of relocation to the country means that apartments become available on a regular basis and networking is therefore a necessity to finding the perfect home.
Factors to consider when house-hunting in Kuwait
Not all apartments and villas are fully kitted out with light fittings, appliances and air conditioning, and it’s important to establish clearly what is included in the rental. When initially looking at a property, it’s not uncommon to find that, when moving in, all the appliances and fittings that were there before are no longer present.
Expats should also establish upfront whether utilities are included in the rental. Utilities such as water and electricity are often a separate expense that the tenant has to cover.
Construction is ongoing in Kuwait, and expats should consider the proximity of their home to construction sites as the noise and dust can become a nuisance.
Parking is a persistent problem and often in short supply. This should not discourage new arrivals from purchasing or renting a vehicle, though, as public transport in Kuwait is not well developed. Expats should ensure that there is secure parking in close proximity to their home. This is not always included in the rental and can become a serious inconvenience.
Signing a lease in Kuwait
Leases are normally signed for a period of one year, and rent is usually negotiable. A security deposit of at least a month’s rent will be required to secure the property. Sometimes rent is required upfront for three to six months’ rent to secure the lease.
The rental agreement will usually be written in Arabic. It’s therefore important to have a trusted translator to have it drawn up in English as well, to ensure that all aspects of the lease are understood. Bear in mind that should a dispute arise, the Arabic version will be the only one taken into account.