A “rental dispute” between a shopkeeper and a landlord broke out in a “mecca for drinkers. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

A “rental dispute” between a shopkeeper and a landlord broke out in a “mecca for drinkers.

It even developed into a court case!

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Noge Miyakobashi Shopping Street Building, which houses various forms of restaurants, from long-established to new establishments

The Noge area, located in Naka-ku, Yokohama City, not far from Sakuragicho Station, has become nationally known as “downtown Hama. On the outskirts of the downtown area, which is crowded with restaurants, is a building that exudes a deep dignity. It is the Noge Miyakobashi Shopping Center Building.

The two-story, lightweight steel-frame building was completed in 1964, and is lined with about 60 snack bars and standing bars. The building is also famous as a location for “Private Detective Hama-Mike,” a drama series starring Masatoshi Nagase, and has often appeared in the media.

The “landlord” of the stores is the Yokohama Historical Research Association (Yokohama Heritage, hereafter referred to as the “Historical Research Association”). On its official website, it says,

The building in question was previously managed by the Yokohama City Building Aid Corporation, but following the demolition of the corporation, it was transferred to the Historical Research Institute in 2005, and management was also transferred to the organization. However, a “lease contract dispute” has arisen between the landlord and tenants, leading to a court case.

A person involved with the Yokohama Noge Commercial Cooperative Association said, “It all started in June 19, 1964.

It all started in June 2007. The Historical Research Institute sent us a notice by certified mail, jointly signed with a lawyer, stating that the rent would be more than doubled from the following month. I immediately responded in writing, but even after further correspondence, the Historical Research Association was unwilling to engage in constructive discussions.

There are several other problems: when the Historical Research Association took over management of the building in 2005, they switched from a ‘regular lease’ to a 10-year ‘fixed-term lease.

The owners and employees of 60 stores could suddenly find themselves on the street. This is the reason why we decided to file a lawsuit.

Some of the shopkeepers in the shopping arcade building have snack bars and other establishments run by elderly mothers who run them alone. Some of them do not understand deeply the intricacies of these situations. In fact, when the former chairman of the board of directors gave his approval for the switch to a fixed-term lease, he did not fully consider the risk of eventual eviction.

The increase in rent may be partly unavoidable in light of the overall rise in land prices in urban areas. Noge, once an entertainment district known only to those in the know, has become a tourist spot, and chain stores have increased their presence in the area.

The shopping district building, built in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, should have historical significance as a symbol of downtown culture. It is no wonder that the Historical Research Association, whose main activity is “preservation and utilization of historical assets,” is in charge of the management of the building, but in reality, “repairs that should have been done by the landlord, such as repairing the gutters and replacing the broken lock on the communal toilet, have been neglected for several years,” according to the aforementioned official.

The aforementioned official said, “We are not opposed to rent hikes per se, either. There have been rent increases of several thousand yen in the past, and it is fine if it improves the management of the building. However, the way the Historical Research Association suddenly sends us a content-certified letter and refuses to set up a meeting for discussion seems to be saying, ‘You have to do what we say,’ and I don’t agree with a lot of it.”

What are the landlord’s thoughts on the shopkeeper’s petition? The Friday Digital editorial team reached out to the Historical Research Board for an interview, but phone calls were disconnected and a written questionnaire was sent, but no response was received by the deadline.

The trial has completed two rounds of oral arguments, and a third is scheduled for October. More than the amount of money or the content of the contract, this trouble is a question of trust as a landlord. Communication should be more important than anything else to carry on the good old bar culture. ……

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