By Ghadeer Ghloum

KUWAIT: As housing prices continue to rise, it is becoming increasingly difficult for young couples to afford renting their own apartments. In Kuwait, many Kuwaiti newlyweds find themselves struggling to pay high rentals while waiting to receive their government houses, which often leads to financial stress. So Kuwaiti families have adopted a potential solution that can alleviate this problem, which is building an extra floor in the parents’ house for newly married couples. Such an arrangement provides benefits for both the newlyweds and their parents.

By living in the same household with their parents, the couple can receive practical and emotional support and lower living costs, since parents usually let the couples live for free or pay nominal rent. Despite the multiple benefits of this move for Kuwaiti families, some people discourage this, especially when houses exceed three floors.

Ayoub Al-Saffar, a real estate consultant said: “This phenomenon is spreading among Kuwaitis due to the housing crisis, which has forced people to build a fourth floor on top of their private houses for their newly married children to live near them and prevent paying high rent. This step is related to two main factors: The high cost of housing and rental apartments and directly related to the slow process of distributing government houses to Kuwaiti couples, which leaves newlywed Kuwaitis with no choice but to either find an apartment on rent or build an extra floor and live in with their parents.”

Building an extra floor is an efficient solution for Kuwaitis when compared to renting an apartment. Additionally, parents’ houses are often located in neighborhoods the couples are familiar and more comfortable with. However, Saffar discourages exceeding three floors, as he said that it affects the infrastructure of the area and its services. “Each area was designed to accommodate a population density of only 210 percent, while the situation has exceeded 350 percent. We have only seen paper distributions lately. Houses in Mutlaa entered the implementation stage only a short while ago, while in South Saad Al-Abdullah, they are still on paper,” he added.

Building an extra floor for newly married couples in their parents’ house can be an attractive solution, but as with any major decision, it is important to carefully consider the legal and financial implications before proceeding. The Municipal Council has approved requests to allow Kuwaitis to build a fourth floor in their private houses, but based on certain regulations. Saffar said as long as building a fourth floor is not officially legalized in Kuwait, homeowners cannot benefit from the extra value that is supposed to be added to the house, because it cannot be sold, which makes the expenses and the risk worthless for many people.