Gaping hole doesn’t stop tenant’s business

A George Town landlord recently dug a gaping hole in front of a building she owns in a dramatic bid to dislodge a tenant.

The owners of the Mary Street building claim they have tried everything to get the tenant evicted after serving notice for non-payment more than three years ago.

‘It is a nightmare. The judge orders her to pay; she does not. The locks were changed and she busted them off. We dig a huge hole in front of the building – she constructed a makeshift walkway. She ignores Planning orders and no new lease was ever signed,’ said the landlord’s daughter Julie Range.

For the tenant of the beauty salon it is business as usual until the landlord comes up with another strategy.

Both the landlord and the tenant claims there were problems from the time the one-year lease was signed and the matter ended up in the courts.

The owners claim the tenant refuses to pay rent and leave and the tenant said the landlord did not live up to the one-year rental agreement signed in 2005.

In the meantime, the hole is a danger to the beauty salon clients, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians using that stretch of road.

The sidewalk in that area has been removed and people crossing have to walk in the street to avoid the trench, cordoned off by two steel rods and some caution tape.

The unstable make-shift walkway to the building also poses a threat to persons entering the building, as it could accidentally collapse inwards.

The tenant, Monalisa Brigmon, is fuming about not getting the space agreed on, issues with water, electrical and septic damages.

After closing the business Sunday afternoon as she normally did each week, she said she returned Monday morning to find the gaping hole.

‘I had no idea that anything was wrong when clients called me at home enquiring why there was a huge hole at the shop’s entrance,’ she said.

‘It was not until I made my way down to the store that I realised that the hole stretched the full length of the building blocking access to my business.’

She said she called the Planning Department and was told it had not received an application for a trenching permit.

But since that time both the tenant and the property owners have failed to budge by either filling in the hole or removing the makeshift walkway as instructed by the Planning Department.

Ms Range said the tenant is not obeying the law so she does not think she should either. Until the courts can come up with a solution to have her removed from the building, this is where it stands, she said.

‘I am not filling back the hole and if she fills it back I will sell the fill as payment for rent,’ said Ms Range.

Planning Department Assistant Director Ron Sanderson confirmed his department had asked the landlord to fill in the trench after receiving a complaint about the removal of material from the Mary Street property.

In an emailed response to questions from the Caymanian Compass, he confirmed that a Code Compliance officer did visit the site and took photographs of the trench.

The owner of the property was advised by the officer to replace the excavated material.

Mr. Sanderson said the matter was then presented to the Central Planning Authority on 24 June, which decided to issue an enforcement notice demanding the owner fill the area back in.

Mr. Sanderson said the enforcement notice has been signed, but is not expected to be served on the owner until sometime this week.

He said a Code Compliance officer also advised the tenant to remove the illegally constructed wooden deck.

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