HOUSING HURDLES

Sonko's housing delayed, Uhuru's on course

Phase One pushed to August , tenants object to floor space, cost, service charge, only some paid compensation

In Summary

• Out of 48 tenants, 26 have received their Sh600,000 cheques.

• Last year, the ground breaking for Pangani had been postponed more than three times. 

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko during the 4th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Gigiri on March 14, 2019
SOnko Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko during the 4th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Gigiri on March 14, 2019
Image: COURTESY

Pangani tenants have another two months to vacate their houses to make way for the affordable housing scheme. 

Last week President Uhuru Kenyatta inspected the project in which 1,370 houses are to be built at Park Road, Ngara. Affordable housing is part of Uhuru's Big Four.

Foundations have been laid for 228 units in Phase One, expected to be completed in September.

 

By contrast, the county's affordable housing project is still at the negotiation stage between tenants and the county.

Questions have arisen over  Governor Mike Sonko's absence during the President's inspection of the affordable housing project.

The project, which was to begin in December, has been beset by conflict between tenants and the county.

The county has contracted six firms — Technofin Kenya, Green Ederman Property, Green Prestik, Jabavu Village, Stanlib Kenya and Directline Assurance Limited — to put up more than 8,000 units across the city.

Old and New Ngara, Jeevanjee, Suna Road, Ngong Road Phases one and two, Bachelors’ Quarters and Pangani are among the estates targeted for the urban renewal.

Pangani Estate was chosen as the pilot and Technofin Kenya contracted to redevelop 1,434 units.

The 12.5 acres for Phase One in Pangani are valued at Sh4 billion and construction will cost Sh25 billion.

Out of the 48 tenants in the project, only 26 have received the Sh600,000 compensation. No construction can begin until tenants relocate.

The redevelopment was meant to start on Saturday but was pushed to August.

In August last year, the county urged tenants to co-operate or face termination of their tenancy.

Residents are said to be coming up with their own terms for the project, contrary to what the county had on the table.

Some of them also don't want to move and want the developer instead to build new houses as continue living in the old houses. The county said that was impossible.

Former Lands executive Charles Kerich had earlier said the tenants called the one-month relocation notice too short.

"Due to the concerns raised, we pushed it till August since most tenants said their children were in school and some are observing in Ramadhan. But some have already moved," he said. 

Two weeks ago, the county and tenants discussed contentious project issues. Kerich said they worked out many of them and found a middle ground.

However the tenants, through their chairman George Kimani, said the county has failed to give clear information about the project including a clear road map and timelines.

They have also objected to the Offer for Sale and Purchase Agreement requiring the tenants to pay a minimum Sh212,500 upfront before occupying the new houses.

Tenants also opposed the Sh30,000 service charge to be paid above the Sh10, 000 rent. They complained that the new units will be only 60 square metres, as opposed to the previous plan of 119 square metres.

After buying the houses, tenants were to form a management company to decide how much to charge for their security, electricity, garbage collection and other costs.

Kerich said the county made the amendments to answer tenants' concerns and a new contract was drafted.

"Right now, I do not think there are other issues unless something new comes up,” he said.

However, the tenants yet to see the new amended contracts after the amendments were made.

Location of the buildings on flight paths has also delayed the project.

Last year in May, it was said that the houses were located on the flight paths of Moi Airbase and Wilson Airport.

The county government requested the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority to give a clear map of flight paths.

This has forced the county government to construct 14-storey buildings as opposed to the intended 30-storeys to avoid interference with the flight paths.