Tenant ‘just won’t leave’

2019-05-10 15:21
Owner Mandlenkosi Dlamini wants Gugu Makhonza to move his car maintenance and repair shop out of his Boom Street property. PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

Owner Mandlenkosi Dlamini wants Gugu Makhonza to move his car maintenance and repair shop out of his Boom Street property. PHOTO: IAN CARBUTT

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A Boom Street landlord, Mandlenkosi Dlamini, is at his wit’s end after failing to persuade a long-standing tenant to move out of the property where he wants to build a block of flats. The tenant runs a car repair shop on his property.

Dlamini said since 2017 he has had several meetings with the owner of Mgwiji Trading, Gugu Makhonza, about the latter moving out. Makhonza runs a car repairs and maintenance shop with a clientele list that includes the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government departments for their small vehicles, bakkies and ambulances.

He has been working from Dlamini’s property for more than a decade.

“I had other tenants that were running other businesses on the premises and when I met with them about moving out they asked for a period between three to four months to find other accommodation. He [Makhonza] has been postponing his relocation for more than a year now,” said Dlamini.

The pair never signed a lease agreement and only verbally agreed on the terms of their “contract”, which Dlamini said included how much Makhonza was going to pay in rent.

Dlamini said he has explained to Makhonza that his business was financially crippling him as he was no longer able to generate enough income for the maintenance of his building.

He said he was paying no less than R45 000 for rates and R14 000 for electricity every month. “The municipality said I’m paying so much because the property is zoned as general business. He [Makhonza] is only paying R5 500 rent, which is inclusive of water and the electricity he is using at his workshop.”

Dlamini said he suffered a loss of more than R150 000 a year since he no longer had other business tenants as they moved out more than a year ago.

Dlamini decided to rezone his property to residential due to a continuous struggle to collect enough rent to run a profitable business rental entity. However, Msunduzi told him that his rezoning application would not be approved until the Makhonza’s car workshop had been demolished.

“I’ve told Makhonza about the plan for a 24-apartment building here but the municipality won’t even consider those building plans until the property has been rezoned. The longer he delays moving out, the more I lose financially,” said Dlamini.

He said Makhonza might be paying rent but it felt like he had “hijacked” his property.

“He’s been paying R5 500 for years now but that’s not what this is about, I just want him to leave so that I can go ahead with the plans for the other project. I should be able to do that without any hassles but he seems hell-bent on blocking me,” he said.

The matter has caused a huge rift between the pair to a point where they are no longer on good speaking terms.

When contacted for comment, Makhonza said he has referred the matter to his lawyer.

“I will be consulting with him tomorrow [Friday] on how to go about in dealing with this,” he said on Thursday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  property dispute

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