Friday, June 6, 2014

Building haris Mafia

Keeping a building in Kuwait neat and clean is a job usually performed by the caretaker (haris). But increasingly some caretakers are hiring out their more menial duties for small sums, paying casual laborers to take out the trash and wash the cars. Fadel, a Bangladeshi cleaner, washes 60 cars a day to add to his monthly income. “I usually start washing cars from 1am because I have to clean them all for KD 5 per month each,” he said. But the KD 5 will not go straight to the hands of the cleaner. “KD 3 will be for me and KD 2 is for the haris,” he said.

The man said he accepts cleaning and washing cars for extra money since he only makes KD 100 from his regular job as a janitor at a cleaning company in Shuwaikh. “I have two kids back in Bangladesh and I only have a KD 100 salary.
This amount is not enough, so I took this cleaning and washing job to add to my monthly income,” he said. Many cleaning tasks in buildings in Salmiya, Khaitan, Farwaniya and Hawally are usually done by Bangladeshi cleaners instead of the building caretakers. And why not, since the haris gets a considerable amount from the tenants in addition to his salary. “I collect KD 5 monthly for throwing the garbage. If they have a car, I charge them an additional KD 5,” one haris told the Kuwait Times.
In a 10 storey building with four tenants on each floor, total income for the haris can reach KD 400 in monthly payments. Some tenants see the haris as the boss of their building, like Jose, a Filipino who lives in Salmiya. “My haris will just sit in the corner and smoke shisha, waiting till the end of the month for the monthly rent of the tenants and his KD10 for garbage collection and his share from a Bangladeshi cleaner. He also gets his regular monthly salary from his sponsor, plus his stay in the building is also free. He is the king of the building,” he said.
Building caretakers typically earn between KD 120 to KD 150 as well as free rent. Some also earn extra cash when new tenants desperate for a good flat in crowded areas offer incentives and some will wash cars themselves. An Egyptian haris noted: “If I will not clean cars, I will not make extra money. So I wash about 20 cars and get KD 5 each from the tenants. That way I am earning extra.” The life of a haris can be both easy and difficult.
They are the first person tenants call when there are problems and that can be at any hour of the day or night. They are also constantly in demand to help with building issues including maintenance and upkeep and the perennial problems of parking.- Kuwait Times
This is a little bit on what the haris does, I knew they made money but I had no idea it was that much. That's not including all of the side jobs and business they do under the blind eye of the building owner. It's also disturbing when the building haris offers his hand in marriage to single women when they give them any attention or ask for help. Someone needs to regulate their corrupt activities!


  1. In my former apartment in Salmiya, the rent was 1500 KD per month (company paid for it). On top of that I paid the Haris 20 KD for private underground parking, washing my SUV daily, taking the trash from my elevator (penthouse apartment, elevator opened in my living room, I sat the trash in the elevator), stove gas when I needed it (though I now think that was his job anyway), and personally making all deliveries to my apartment...not allowing food delivery drivers to come up. I always noticed it was never him washing the car or taking the trash (he did do the deliveries though). So I felt bad for the guys he had doing HIS work and started paying them too -- which they probably gave a portion of to him! Then of course there was the dread of entering the building lobby and seeing him sitting there...obtuse flirting and yes, marriage proposals. I even stored some extra furniture in MY storage area by the stairs and he took it without my knowledge and sold it!

    One day, and by complete accident, I met the building OWNER at a business meeting. I gladly shared every detail of the Haris' behavior and less than a week later he had been terminated or moved to another building. To this day I feel horrible guilt -- though I shouldn't.

  2. Do you need a PA lol.....I don't mind paying them when they do something, but as you said, they are managing the poor Indian guys who actually do the labor. I've heard that the owners are oblivious to what they do as long as they get their monthly rent money. I was also caught one time in the elevator with the haris as he gathered rent money, showing me the money and telling me wajid floos and asking if I wanted to marry him even though he had a wife and kids in Egypt.

    That's another thing that bugs me, why is that everyone thinks I have a single friend who would want to marry these guys to give them citizenship lol

  3. LOL I always went through the same thing, "You have single American friend for marry me?" Ummm, NO! And if I DID know a single American woman she sure wouldn't have considered me a 'friend' if I hooked her up with the married building haris lol.

    I'm working for myself now -- no more corporate apartments. But business is growing and you never know, in November I might need some help in Kuwait :) I'll definitely let you know if things go as well as I'm hoping.

  4. Good luck on the business, it's great to be your own boss. Soon I will be moving which means I will be dealing with this, ugh!

  5. Woah... an apartment that costs 1500 KD a month and these guys are just earning 100 KD per month.. no wonder they are doing these extra jobs to get extra income!

    They should put more local arabs to do these jobs too, afterall its their country so they shouldnt bee ashamed!


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