Kiambu tenant sues landlord over dry taps
A man and his two sons, who reside in houses owned by a mainstream church, got a reprieve on Monday after suing their landlord for depriving them water as tenants.
Mr George King’iri Wanjohi with his sons, who are not named in the suit documents but are however identified as SWK and IWK, claimed that their landlord had unconstitutionally denied them the right to get water in their house while the rest of the tenants have access to water comfortably.
The father of two has sued Kiambu’s St. James Cathedral of the Anglican Church of Kenya, the church’s property agents – Paragon Property Consultants Limited- and the County government over the alleged discriminatory treatment.
And High Court judge Roselyn Aburili agreed to issue orders compelling the said church and the county government of Kiambu to connect running water to the house in which Mr Kingi’ri and his sons have been living in for the past four months at the county’s shopping Centre.
Although Mr Kingi’ri had wanted the matter certified urgent when he first appeared in court on January 21, the judge had declined to issue any order and had instead asked him to serve the sued parties so that they could respond before any directions could be given.
The sued parties declined to file their response to the complaint.
The church and the county government further did not appear in court on Monday as they were required to appear for interparty directions forcing the judge to issue the order.
“Since the matter was served and the sued parties have not appeared for interparty further directions, in this regard, I issue an order compelling the church, its property agents and the county government of Kiambu to forthwith connect the complainant’s rented house with running water,” ruled Lady Justice Aburili.
The judge further ordered that Mr King’iri and his sons also be provided with a container for the disposal of garbage.
According to Mr King’iri, he entered in to a tenancy agreement on October 4, 2014 where he agreed to be paying electricity, water, conservancy and telephone charges to the landlord.
He claimed that failure to pay the landlord, the property managers are required to pay the listed bills from the tenant’s rent account and treat the same as recoverable rent arrears.
Before entering the said house he insisted that he paid a water bill deposit of Sh 2,000 on August 22, 2014 even before signing the tenancy agreement yet they have had to go without running water in their rented house unlawfully.
He faulted his landlord of supplying running water to the other tenants in the same building excluding their house and declining to provide garbage containers to everyone.
He argues that everyone is constitutionally entitled to the supply of clean piped water and a garbage container around their rented homes.
He further argued that if his two sons and himself discharge solid waste anywhere they would be charged in a criminal court under the Environment Management and Coordination Act.
While seeking to stop the payment of parking fees at their residence, he also claimed that the church is charging all tenants with vehicles levies yet as a landlord they are required to provide them with the same as per the County legislation and regulation on physical planning.
“We are between a rock and a very hard place and unless the court intervenes we shall be prisoners over an omission by the sued parties, the infringement of the constitutional rights complained of are imperative and permissive,” he said.
The case will be heard in March 18.