Landlady accuses tenant of plot to grab her property

Monday, December 11th, 2023 00:05 | By
Landlady accuses tenant of plot to grab her property
Renee Ng’endo Chege, a landlady in Nairobi West. PHOTO/Print

Renee Ng’endo Chege, a landlady in Nairobi West, is seeking justice following alleged attempt by a former tenant to grab her multi-million-shilling property using some influential individuals in government.

Chege is protesting the manner in which her former tenant, Osidai Limited, obtained orders from the Business Premises Rent Tribunal (BPRT) in Nairobi to continue occupying her property a month after the tenant was ordered to be evicted.

The woman has now written a protest letter to the chairperson of BPRT and copied it to the Judiciary Service Commission  calling for investigations into the matter.

In her complaint letter to the tribunal seen by People Daily, Chege says she is shocked that Osidai Limited has been allowed to continue “trespassing” in her property despite an order for eviction.

Chege inherited the piece of land in South C, Nairobi West from her deceased father who died 1998 when she was a child. The prime property had for over 20 years been leased to a company known as Osidai Limited by her father at a rent of Sh150,000.

Eviction order

In 2021, the lease to Osidai Limited ended and Chege, who had come of age, wanted to lease to other tenants who would have fetched her over Sh1 million in rent.

However, Osidai Limited allegedly refused to vacate the premises or pay rent at current market despite being issued with several notices to vacate.  

She says that due to the continued failure by the company to vacate the premises even after its tenancy had expired two years ago, she with the assistance of her lawyers,  filed a lawsuit at the Business Premises and Rent Tribunal for the eviction of Osidai Limited.

According to Chege, on October 19, 2023 the Tribunal magistrate Mike Makori allowed her application and ordered the eviction of Osidai Limited through the assistance of OSC Nyayo Police Station.

“Following the order, I struggled to obtain police assistance but I finally got a reprieve on November 24, 2023 when I effected the eviction. As the property is situated in a prime area, the premises had new occupants in less than two days,” Chege (pictured) states in her letter.

She said that less than four days since she evicted the tenant, on November 27, 2023, Osidai Limited went to the same  court and obtained orders from the same Tribunal to reinstate its tenancy.

New tenancy

The woman claims the company whose owners are said to be linked to  powerful real estate players in Nairobi with deep connections in the Judiciary sought to have the eviction orders earlier issued vacated under the pretence that they were “negotiating” a new tenancy agreement with her.

The company in its application informed the tribunal that it lacked the jurisdiction to issue the eviction granted on October 19, 2023 to Chege.

She says the company has since 2021 benefitted from the property by subletting the shops but she had never authorized the company to collect rent on her behalf.

When Chege applied to the Tribunal for revocation of the orders to reinstate the company on  December 1, 2023 her application was rejected.

Simultaneously, the Tribunal granted ex-parte orders allowing Osidai limited to take over Chege’s property until December 11, 2023 when the matter will be heard.

Chege says that the company on December 1 filed another application seeking to direct the OCS Nyayo Police Station to oversee the eviction of the new tenants and its reinstatement back to the property.

“The same ex-parte orders were absurdly issued on the same date at 4:21pm,” Chege lawyer’s Wahome and Akedi Advocates stated in the letter.

According to the letter, attempts by the company to “grab” the property had left Chege and her family fearful that their rights will be grossly undermined.  

Legal basis

Chege now wants the chairperson of the Business Premises Rent  Tribunal to intervene and investigate how Makori issued the two ex-parte orders allowing the former tenant back on her property.

“Our complaint is that there is evident lack of judicial integrity, fairness and impartiality in the manner in which the ex parte orders of November 28, 2023 and  December 1, 2023 were issued. There existed no logical or legal basis for issuing orders to reinstate Osidai Limited since it is this Tribunal that issued the orders for the eviction of the company,” Chege’s lawyer states.

She further argues  that the  Tribunal’s powers are only limited to instances where there is an existing tenancy agreement under Cap 301 laws of Kenya.

“Our client has not been negotiating with the company any tenancy or lease agreement as it is intent on grabbing her land,” Wahome and Akedi Advocates says.

The lawyer says that Chege had lost all faith in the Tribunal’s ability to deal with the matter judicially and fairly without appearing to be unduly influenced by powerful external actors.

“Furthermore, the orders issued by the Tribunal are embarrassing and questionable, as its powers are explicitly circumscribed in Cap 301. If no tenancy relationship currently exists between the Landlord and the Respondent, the Tribunal has no powers to intervene.

“As such, the orders issued were made in vain not least because the Landlord has already entered into lease agreements with other tenants and taken over possession of the suit property,” the law firm adds.

Further, Chege’s lawyer contends that the conduct of the Tribunal in issuing the ex parte orders do not show if justice is being served in the dispute.

“Our client is gravely concerned that she risks losing her right to property and to deal with her property as she wishes, simply because a powerful hand is at play against her. The file has been slated for hearing on  December 11, 2023 but our client believes that it is just a sham hearing to justify a pre-determined outcome,” reads the letter in part.

The lawyer wants the tribunal  chairperson to conduct investigation on the matter.

“We therefore request for your indulgence to investigate the conduct of the matter prior to the hearing date and rectify the gravely erroneous conduct of the matter,” Chege’s lawyer says.

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