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27 tenants sue NHA over breach of agreement

TWENTY seven National Housing Authority tenants have sued the authority in the Lusaka High Court demanding a declaratory order that they are entitled to continue occupying and to purchase the NHA houses situated in Nyumba Yanga, Lusaka.

In the originating summons filed in the principal registry, Susan Nawila and 26 others are also seeking an order for specific performance of the offer of condition of State Rent to Own Scheme and the statement by then Local Government minister Stephen Kampyongo at a meeting held in Nyumba Yanga allowing them to continue occupying the houses as sitting tenants.

The houses have been advertised for sale in the media.

The 27 applicants are in the alternative seeking an order directing NHA to offer them alternative accommodation of similar standard.

Nawila and others also seek damages for breach of contract relating to the lease agreements, any other relief the court might deem fit, interest on the amounts due and costs for and incidental to the action.

Nawila in her affidavit filed in court stated explained that NHA was a statutory body charged with the responsibility of providing housing accommodation in Zambia.

She stated that NHA on different dates offered them, individually, the properties that they were currently residing in as tenants for purchase of the same under a scheme dubbed “Rent-to-own”.

 

The applicants stated that it was expressly stipulated [under], a term of the scheme under clause 1.7 that in the event that an offer for sale expires, the sitting tenants would continue renting the property in line with their existing respective lease agreements.

 

Nawila stated that the above position was reaffirmed by Kampyongo at a meeting held at house number 9812/3/39 in Nyumba Yanga some time in 2016.

 

“That we accepted the said offers on the accompanying terms and conditions as stipulated,” she stated.

Nawila, however, stated that in total disregard of the terms and conditions of the Rent-to-Own Scheme, expressly providing for them to continue being sitting tenants even in the event of them failing to pay for the properties, NHA proceeded to advertise the properties for sale to the general public in the Times of Zambia, and therefore, intends to sell the properties to other members of  the public.

The applicants added that this was in total disregard of the terms and conditions of the Rent-to-own Scheme expressly providing for them to continue being sitting tenants even in the event of them failing to pay for the houses.

 

Nawila stated that on December 16, 2018, NHA served them with notices for them to vacate the premises on account that it had terminated their offer for sale under the Rent-to-own Scheme.

 

She further stated that the conduct of NHA towards their plight as sitting tenants was not in conformity with the terms of the Rent-to-Own Scheme, which was only introduced at their request for their empowerment and in accordance with the government of Zambia’s policy on sale of institutional houses to sitting tenants.

Nawila also stated that NHA had no authority to terminate their lease agreements on grounds that were unrelated to their tenancy agreements as they were now attempting to do.

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