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Jabi Lake Mall Management Threaten To Charge Tenants 2.5% Over Late Rent Payment Amidst Lockdown

Despite the lockdown of most business premises in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as a result of the ravaging Covid -19 pandemic, a property management firm, Broll Nigeria Property Services, owners of Jabi Lake Mall, has threatened to charge two per cent interest on late payment of rent.

The mall houses Shoprite, and other top Nigerian business concerns.

The South African owned company which is registered in Nigeria amount of its property.

In a letter copied to all tenants, the property management allegedly threatened to invoke some penalties against store owners who default on the lease payment.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government’s directive on closure of businesses in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19, impacted negatively on operations of most businesses, especially non-pharmaceutical and food store owners within the FCT.

Consequently, many employees are unable to work and would not get paid, while employers are also losing money because their businesses have been shut down by the Federal Government.

However, there is a legal term known as ‘force majeure” meaning “superior force”, which relieves a party in a contract from performing their obligations in a contract as a result of circumstances beyond their control which made it impossible for them to perform.

In spite of the financial strains occasioned by the COVID19 pandemic, a superior force that a party (in this case the mall tenants) has no control over and as such unable to perform their obligations, especially considering that most states have ordered closures of many businesses and facilities, the Jabi Lake Mall owners continue to mount pressure their tenants to pay up outstanding obligations.

In one of the latest requests for payment of outstanding obligations dated May 8, 2020, the debt administrator of Jabi Lake Mall (Broll Nigeria), Mr. Lanre Jekami, notified the facility’s tenants to pay their “outstanding service charge and utilities consumed” fees, where he provided bank payment details.

ALL TENANTS, SERVICE CHARGE AND UTILITIES PAYMENT. 

Please be informed once again that notwithstanding all previous notices with respect to Service Charge and Utilities payment. 

It has become necessary for the Landlord to be able to meet its commitment on the operational and day-day to running of the mall to ask that all tenants pay their outstanding Service Charge and Utilities consumed. 

We anticipate and hope for your full and unwavering co-operation in this regard. 

Thank you for your support as always. 

Payment details are as follows: 

ACCOUNT NAME: JABI MALL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LIMITED 

BANK: STANBIC IBTC PLC 

ACCOUNT NUMBER (SERVICE CHARGE): 0026529830(NGN)
ACCOUNT NUMBER (SERVICE CHARGE): 
0026529816(USD) 

Sincerely, 

Jabi Lake Mall (Center Management).”

In another letter dated April 1, 2020, the mall managers made the following requests:

“JABI LAKE MALL,
PLOT 1265A CADASTRAL ZONE,
OFF BALA SOKOTO WAY, JABI.
JABI DISTRICT, ABUJA.
01/ 04/2020.
ATTENTION:
ALLTENANTS,
NOTICE OF LATE PAYMENT AND 2% INTEREST IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LEASE.

Please be informed once again that notwithstanding all previous notices with respect to Rental Payment, It has become necessary due to ongoing late payments to re-iterate the terms as agreed in the lease agreement.

Whereas all tenants are required to pay in advance i.e. Rent & Service Charge on the 1st day of the Month.

The Utilities bills will continue to be paid upon demand in arrears by the Landlord.

Please be advised as above from here and forthwith that all late payments will be charged interest of 2% on all bills/invoices outstanding upon failure to remedy the breach within a period of 7 days.

This will be strictly enforced going forward and we look forward to cooperation.

Payment details are as follows:
ACCOUNT NAME: JABI MALL DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LIMITED
BANK: STANBICIBTC PLC
ACCOUNT NUMBER (RENT):
0026529658(NGN)
ACCOUNT NUMBER (RENT):
0026529642(USD)
ACCOUNT NUMBER (SERVICECHARGE):
0026529830(NGN)
ACCOUNT NUMBER (SERVICECHARGE):
0026529816(USD)
Sincerely, Jabi Lake Mall(Center Management),”
the letter to tenants read.

But in an impassioned reply to one of the several requests from the mall managers, one of the tenants, YoBella Kids Zone drew the attention of the property firm to financial constraints brought on its operations by the pandemic, urging the Jabi Lake Mall managers to reconsider its decision to impose 2% penalty charge for late payments.

In the reply, Mrs. Yewande Usman, Managing Director of Yobella Kids Zone, said, “With the current situation of COVID 19 across the world and the directive of the Nigeria Government that all non-essential shops close temporarily close for five weeks at the first instance, it has not been possible for Yobella Kids Zone to make any revenue for the month of April and foreseeably for the month of May 2020.

It is in view of this that we hereby request for the mall management to extend the concession free rental and service charge for the business for the months of April and May 2020. We also request that you rescind the 2% penalty charge for late payments.”

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