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Challenges pitting Nairobi property buyers against developer

REAL ESTATE
By Kevin Oguoko | July 30th 2015
A view of Jacaranda Gardens Phase One.

NAIROBI: A resident who did not want to be mentioned by name, traces the problem they have with the developer of Jacaranda Gardens to lack of communication and arming of guards, something she says is not necessary. “Jacaranda Gardens is a beautiful place to live in. Just let them give us what they promised. That is all we want,” she says.

Roselyn Njogu, a lawyer and the main organiser of the #BuyerBeware Twitter campaign, is able to shed more light on the happenings.

Part of what she and her husband considered when buying their house in Phase One of the development,  was what the developers had promised to deliver years down the line.

“There were 840 apartments so the fear of it being surrounded by unplanned developments later was eliminated given it was in a largely unoccupied space and emerging area,” says Ms Njogu.

She adds: “We paid Sh5.8 million at the time for a two-bedroom apartment with 102 square feet, which was a fairly good deal. We knew we wanted to have kids later so having to transport them across town everyday was not going to be an issue. My husband is a swimmer so the swimming pool was going to complement our recreational activities.

That was in 2012 when we moved in. Now we have two kids. The kindergarten is being used as a restaurant (dining hall) by CRBC and the swimming pool does not have an efficient filtration system making it unsafe to swim in.”

“...some of the facilities planned for the residents’ use have been temporarily converted for other purposes or are out of service requiring upgrade,” read a press release from SIETCO, the developers, through their agency, Medialinque International.

The facilities converted includes the clubhouse and the kindergarten.

According to Njogu, contrary to the developers’ claims, residents were not consulted on the change of the clubhouse to an office space for CRBC and the kindergarten into a restaurant.

“If it’s a matter of leasing out the clubhouse and kindergarten for use by CRBC, where is the money going? We are the residents and the clubhouse and kindergarten are listed as part of the units we have bought in the sales agreement and lease,” she says.

She adds: “’Buyer Beware’ was hugely successful. They are now starting to address some of the issues including fixing the swimming pool after the protest.”

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