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City developers in limbo as Ngilu-NLC war heats up

Thousands of property owners in the city cannot renew their leases because of the raging conflict between Lands Cabinet Secretary Charity Ngilu and the National Land Commission.

City County Executive for Land, Housing and Physical Planning Tom Odongo on Monday said this had affected growth as developers no longer trusted leases offered as security to banks.

“Most of these leases cannot provide adequate security since some had already expired while others were about to. This creating uncertainty among the developers,” he said.

He said as long as lease holders fail to access credit, development in Nairobi would be adversely affected.

The conflict between Mrs Ngilu and the NLC started last year. One of the areas the two disagreed on was the renewal of leases for properties in the city issued 100 years ago.

NLC placed an advert in the dailies inviting leaseholders whose rights had expired or were due to expire to ascertain the status of the tenancies.

STANDOFF

The NLC and Mrs Ngilu disagreed on who had the mandate to renew leases. There was also a conflict over who was supposed to manage public and private land.

A joint team was established by the commission and the ministry to resolve the standoff.

A report prepared by the team was presented to the Supreme Court which gave the two parties 90 days to come up with a solution to their unending conflicts.

Last week the court said it would give directions between February 10 and 16 on whether the matter would go for full hearing or lead to the two signing an agreement.

Mr Odongo said more than 500,000 property owners in Parklands, Pangani and Ngara estates could not renew their leases.

However, a commissioner with NLC Abdulkadir Khalif said they had tried to resolve the issue by establishing County Land Management Boards.