Tenants of The Verge refuse to pay rent

Some tenants at The Verge shopping mall at Serangoon Road have refused to pay rent because of what they said are failed promises by the mall’s management.

Tenants Channel NewsAsia spoke to say in 2009, they were told that 35 per cent of the mall would house IT and electronic stores which would draw in the crowds.

But tenants, like Josephine Chua who took up two units based on that premise in 2009, were greeted by furniture shops instead.

“When 1st October came, they opened up the third floor and I got a shock, because half of it they leased out to furniture (stores), that is on a temporary lease basis,” said Ms Chua, who owns the Dragon’s Place & Jumbo Dumbo Cafe.

Ms Chua said rental on one of her units was waived by the previous management, Knight Frank, till after an exhaust duct problem in her cafe was fixed.

A new management team, UGL Services, took over last July, and since then she has been getting legal letters chasing for the rent.

And on Saturday, she found herself locked out of her shops.

“We are all feeling very threatened. Because right now the landlord has locked me out, and also four other shops on the same level,” said Ms Chua.

Another tenant, Crocodile, which has been with the mall for 10 years since it was Tekka Mall before the revamp, has also not paid rent for at least six months. It said business dropped by more than 30 per cent after the mall’s revamp.

Lim Keng Boon, Assistant GM of Crocodile, said: “Ever since the mall was revamped – it was open in 2009 – our business has dropped more than 30 per cent. Despite the festivities like Hari Raya or Deepavali, the business never picked up. (It was) very bad.

“Therefore we appealed to them. We told them it cannot be that way, it has to be better than what it used to be, because it used to be very run down and after (the) revamp, it should be better. We keep telling them – do promotions, run marketing activities – they refuse to listen to us.”

UGL Services told Channel NewsAsia it has been running marketing efforts since taking over the mall, to increase the mall’s business.

However, it would not comment on allegations made by the tenants, as it said the matter has been referred to its lawyers.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 12 Jul 2011

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