Archive for July 22nd, 2009

Hole cuts hairdresser short

Hole cuts hairdresser short

| 22/07/2009 | 20 Comments

(CNS): A longstanding dispute between a landlord and commercial tenant has put a local business woman literally on edge after the landlord, under the cover of darkness, dug a huge hole in front of her business premises on Mary Street in George Town. Monalisa Morganberry-Kudritzki was shocked to discover the gaping and dangerous hole in front of her hairdressing salon when she arrived to start work on Monday, 8 June.  

After ringing round to find out if the cavity was down to utility works, she soon discovered it was the work of her landlord who has been trying to remove her from the premises since 2005.

Morganberry-Kudritzki explained to Cayman News Service that she is returning to court again  on Wednesday, 22 July, for the next chapter in what has been a drawn out legal dispute with her landlord over anumber of issues. She says, however, that she has always played by the book and has been paying her full rent to her lawyer while the disagreement was being resolved. Despite this, her landlord seems to have taken things to another level with the most recent action, which the Planning Department says is a danger, not just to the tenant and her clients, but the public at large.

Planning have asked the owner to fill in the dangerous hole, which was around five feet deep and right in front of the premises, but a spokesperson from the department told CNS that, as this has not happened, an enforcement notice has now been issued.

The dispute goes back to April 2005 when Morganberry-Kudritzki agreed to lease the unit for her specialist hair restoration and grafting business – catering largely to clients that have medically related hair problems.

After agreeing the terms and giving the landlord one month’s deposit and one month’s rent in advance for the shop, she set about buying the equipment she needed to re-establish and fit out the Hairden, as her original shop had been destroyed in Hurricane Ivan. However, even before the landlord completed the post Ivan repairs to the new unit, Morganberry-Kudritzki discovered that the property had been partitioned, taking off around 1/3 of the floor space she had originally agreed to lease from the owner.

Having asked for an appropriate reduction to the rent, which was refused, she engaged an attorney and has since been paying the full rent to him until the disagreement was resolved in the courts.

With no legal resolution apparently yet in sight, Morganberry-Kudritzki says the landlord has been trying to remove her from the premises and has very nearly succeeded with this latest hole digging escapade.

“I was so devastated when I saw it,” she said. “It is very difficult, almost impossible for me to conduct my business affairs as people can’t get into the shop and it is very dangerous.”

Morganberry-Kudritzki has now had to build a wooden deck in order to gain access at all, but she says that the situation is far from ideal. (Ironically, Planning now also have to give permission for the deck which runs around the edge of the hole.)

Having invested so much in the salon since taking out the lease she has been reluctant to move out, but she says the situation now is so dire she will be forced to move, which means the landlord has effectively succeed in evicting Morganberry-Kudritzki, the long intended goal she suspects, through illegal means.

Planning agreed that the situation was of concern and that the department’s inability to prevent people from doing this sort thing in the first place was a real problem and that it was not fair that the landlord was driving a tenant from her rented premises by breaching planning laws.

Morganberry-Kudritzki said she hoped that something would finally happen when the case returns to the court tomorrow as she feels that despite doing everything she can according to the law, the landlord is by no means playing fair and the ongoing dispute has become far too upsetting to handle.

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