PEEPING Toms using high-rise blocks to spy on women in their homes have forced a change in Muharraq's building regulations.
Owners of new multi-storey buildings in residential areas of Muharraq will now have to instal one-way windows that prevent people from seeing out.
It follows complaints from residents that their wives and daughters are being spied on by people from buildings that overlook their property.
As a result, landlords will be unable to instal electricity in new tower blocks if they fail to comply with the new rule.
"I don't know what has happened to privacy and people's peace of mind, but these new buildings are irritating residents," said Muharraq Municipal Council public relations and information committee chairman Salah Al Jowder.
"They are unable to walk around in their home clothes, sit in the yard or water their plants.
"This is a big problem for residents. One of them complained that his new bride was being watched by construction workers from a building as she went from their room to the kitchen and back - something that made him force her to cover up."
Speaking to councillors at yesterday's Muharraq Munic-ipal Council meeting, Mr Al Jowder said the new buildings are being rented out as either apartment or office blocks - but the problem occurs both during the construction phase and once the new buildings are completed.
He added that the council and the Muharraq Municipal-ity are receiving such complaints on a regular basis - mostly from people living near the old Muharraq suq.
However, municipality technical affairs director Ahmed Al Doy said they were unable to take action under new building regulations announced in the Official Gazette in May, because they did not mention using one-way windows.
"We can't stop someone from building if they do not promise to instal one-way windows," he said.
"But we can make him put in one-way windows if he wants permission to instal electricity.
"The municipality will send inspectors to inspect new buildings whenever ready to ensure that their neighbours' privacy is protected - or else ask the owner to use one-way windows."
He added that residents suffering similar problems from existing high-rise buildings could take the landlords to court, but it would be up to the judge to decide if one-way windows were needed or not.