Court bars trader from Britam Tower in Sh20m rent row


Britam Towers. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Britam Towers has been allowed to block a businessman from re-entering its premises in Upper Hill, Nairobi after the restaurant owner breached terms of agreement and defaulted on rent payment amounting to Sh19.7 million.

Justice Jacqueline Mogeni agreed with Britam Towers LLP that it was better to safeguard and maintain the status quo, by declining to allow Aloinab General Trading back to the building, pending the determination of the dispute.

“The balance of convenience if I had doubt, would tilt in favour of the plaintiff in order to safeguard the current status quo of the subject matter of the suit pending hearing and determination,” the judge ruled.

Britam moved to court seeking to block the company from re-entering the premises after defaulting on rent and payment of service charges.

The company was occupying the main restaurant on ground floor and terrace area at Britam Towers.

The court heard that Britam was free to take over the building in case there was default of rent for 14 days.

Britam said it took over the premises in July 8, after the tenant defaulted.

The tenant through its director Filmon Bahta Weldemriam disputed the amount saying their agreement did not provide a specific amount to pay.

The restaurateur said that in the arrangement, it was given exclusive use of the premises based on sales. However, early this year, the restaurant was hit by low foot traffic to the premises.

The management, he said tried to convince Britam on a specific arrangement for payment of rent and service charge, but Britam allegedly declined.

Further, the tenant accused Britam of seizing its equipment and property worth Sh30 million, causing it ‘financial stress, loss of income and irreparable damage’ and the restaurant has been unable to run his business for gainful purposes at the premises.

“The Heads of Terms are quite clear with respect to the Defendant's obligations in terms of payment of rent and service charge, and the Defendant had previously complied with the terms thereof until it begun to default in payment,” the judge said.

Justice Mogeni said there was merit in Britam’s application and granted the order.