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250 tenants leave disputed city house

Tenants have moved out of Caxton House on Nairobi’s Kenyatta Avenue, where one person died during an attempted eviction two weeks ago.

The more than 250 occupants of the first, second and third floors were ordered to leave on Saturday by the building’s management so it can be renovated.

Only occupants of the ground floor were allowed to remain.

The tenants were asked to vacate following a directive from the defunct Nairobi City Council to Sayani Investments, the building’s owner, to renovate it before renting it out, according to the landlord’s lawyer, Mr Michael Osundwa.

The owner of Sayani Investments is called Mr Zarekhanu Haiderali Kanji Sayani. He also owns the Old Nation House and other buildings in the city centre.

“The renovations are long overdue and the tenants have been notified on numerous occasions.

INHABITABLE

“There was a fire outbreak at the building some time back and upon inspection, City Hall declared it inhabitable and ordered the owners to renovate it before allowing tenants in. That is what was effected,” said Mr Osundwa.

On February 27, a magistrate barred three tenants from taking over the building until a case filed by its owners is heard and determined.

Sayani Investments had asked the court to bar the three — Finham and Co. Ltd, Two Star Agencies and Top Rank Holdings — from interfering with the building’s renovations. The case is pending.

Despite the order, 200 gang members stormed the building two weeks ago and unleashed mayhem, leading to the death of one person. Twelve people have been charged.

The tenant’s lease for the property expired in 2007 but it was renewed, according to the National Land Commission.