The appellant appealed from a decision of the High Court dismissing his claim against the respondent for possession of a house and mesne profits. It was common cause that the respondent was at all material times in occupation of the house, the issue being whether or not such occupation was, alleged by the respondent, by virtue of an oral tenancy agreement. The respondent pleaded that the parties agreed that the respondent could occupy the premises for the purpose of selling Chibuku beer and 20 that he would carry out repairs and redecorations to the dilapidated building, obtain a licence to sell Chibuku, and pay a rent of between K20 and K25 per month.
The trial judge had found that there was an agreement but did not state what its terms were and this was one of the grounds of appeal. Another ground of appeal was that the trial judge erred in finding that there was an agreement when the evidence clearly showed that there was no complete agreement.
(i) It is settled beyond question that, in order for there to be a valid agreement for a lease, the essentials are that there shall be determined not only the parties, the property, the length of the term and the rent, but also the date of its commencement.
(ii) There is no valid agreement for a lease or oral tenancy agreement unless the alleged agreement is sufficiently certain for the court to order specific performance.