Resolving valuation and property management disputes in Kenya "a case study of the c1ty valuation court, tribunals and the alternative dispute resolution methods"
Disputes are bound to arise out 01 any contract, valuation and property contracts included. It is essential that once a dispute has occurred, it be resolved expeditiously in order to avoid any economic loss that might occur. The existing tribunals thi vugh which valuation and property management disputes are resolved in Kenya, are the Valuation Court, Business Premises Rent Tribunal, Rent Restriction Tribunal, Land Acquisition Compensation Tribunal, Land Rent Arbitration Tribunal, Valuers Registration Board, Land Adjudication Committee, Land Control Board, Land Arbitration Board, Physical Planning Liaison Committee and the Land Disputes Tribunal. This thesis has looked into the workings of the first five (5) tribunals with a view to outlining their shortcomings and exploring the use of the Alternative Dispute Resolution methods. It has been 'found -that these tribunals have become slow thus failing to achieve the intended purpose upon which they were formed. ln certain cases, it has been found that it takes as long as Six (6) years to resolve a valuation for rating dispute in the Valuation Court, Ten (10) years to resolve a termination of lease dispute in the Business Premises Rent Tribunal and Twelve (12) years to resolve a general dispute in the Rent Restriction Tribunal. This has been brought about by the fact that the Tribunals have become too legalized and formal to the extentthat the process of resolving a dispute slackens. In the Valuation Court, for instance, it took about 8 years to commence the hearing of objections to the 1988 to 1996 Supplementary Valuation Rolls. The Tribunals have been invaded by advocates (who are masters of Civil Procedure Rules) prompting the adoption of the Civil Procedure Rules of the Civil Procedure Act Chapter 21 of the Laws of Kenya, thus making them too legalized. This has resulted into unnecessary delay in hearing cases due to unnecessary adjournments and procedural defect overrules. Further to the above reasons, there is need to explore 'he use of the Alternative Dispute Resolution methods to resolve valuation and property management disputes expeditiously. Through review of related literature, and interview with key informants, it has been found that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), through its Dispute Resolution Service Department, has employed the use of the Alternative Dispute Resolution methods, with much success. The results have been remarkable .. since disputes have been expeditiously and cheaply resolved. This has been brought ab~ut by the fact that the Alternative Dispute Resolution methods are flexible in application, private in nature and informal in character. As VI a result of this, no time is wasted in bureaucratic processes such as filing of a dispute and fixing of a hearing date since the disputing parties have full control of the dispute. For instance, the parties may decide to file a dispute immediately it arises and also commence the hearing at the same time. This study favours the use of the Alternative Dispute Resolution methods to resolve valuation and property management disputes beforehand. It suggests further that a greater role be played by the Institution of Surveyors of Kenya (lSK), just like the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors CRIeS) in Britain has done. This will give room for the assessment of the potential to resolve a given dispute through either the tribunals or the Alternative Dispute Resolution methods. In this regard, disputes would be filtered beforehand and no unnecessary delay would be caused.