Firm linked to late city tycoon loses property rent case


The late businessman Nginyo Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A company associated with the late businessman Nginyo Kariuki has lost a claim of Sh3.8 million from one of its former tenants at Nginyo Towers within Nairobi’s central business area.

The company, Nginyo Investments Ltd, wanted the Commercial Court to compel Mobile Pay Ltd to pay damages of Sh3,837,128 being rent arrears and for breach of lease agreement.

In the case filed in court in May 2010, Nginyo Investments claimed that during the period the tenant occupied the premises, it breached several of its obligations and covenants under the lease agreement.

For instance, the tenant drilled and demolished the walls of the premises whilst installing air conditioning without obtaining the necessary input or authority from Nginyo Investments or its architects.

On May 5, 2010 the tenant vacated the house and moved out all the fittings, furniture and equipment from the seventh floor to the ground floor of the building which is situated at the junction of Mokhtar Dadah Street and Koinange Street in Nairobi.

James Mwaniki, the general manager of Nginyo's company, testified that the tenant blocked the main entrance and inconvenienced the other occupants of the building particularly the tenants on the ground floor.

The lease, which was to run for six years from March 1, 2008, was to expire on March 1, 2014. Nginyo's firm also wanted court to order the tenant pay general damages on behalf of the ground floor tenants for inconveniencing their businesses.

But Justice David Majanja found the claim untenable because the plaintiff lacked authority to make claims on behalf of the un-named tenants.

He subsequently directed the company to refund the tenant its security deposit of Sh422,553 plus interest at court rates from July 5, 2012 when the tenant filed its counterclaim in court until payment in full.

The tenant told court it repaired and restored the premises to the condition it was in prior to their occupation. However, the landlord and his architect declined to avail themselves for a joint inspection of the premises to confirm that the restoration had been done satisfactorily.

"The Defendant returned the keys to the Plaintiff on April 5, 2012. To date the Plaintiff has not complained either that repairs and restoration had not been undertaken or that the same was not up to par. As such I find no reason why the Defendant should be denied a refund of their security deposit," ruled justice Majanja.

In its counterclaim, Mobile Pay Ltd told court that the landlord denied it quiet enjoyment of the premises. This is because the Nginyo's firm insisted that the tenant obtain a “pass” each and every time it wanted to remove any equipment from the Seventh Floor.

Further that the landlord unjustifiably refused to allow the tenant to connect fibre optic cables from Safaricom Ltd, Telkom Ltd and Access Kenya Ltd which connections were essential to its business operations.