Lee Maloney has been told to vacate his garage in Hackney in August
A mechanic is facing eviction from his premises under a railway arch in Hackney after falling into arrears when his annual rent bill more than trebled.
Lee Maloney, who works at JC Motors, told ITV News London his rent increased from £22,000 to £72,000 in 2018 and his landlord, Transport for London (TfL), expects him vacate his garage once his lease is up in August.
In a letter to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, Mr Maloney said: ”I have been providing work opportunities and apprenticeships to young people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds since 2006.
”Often these young people were losing their way before they found my business, they were misunderstood at school and needed a mentor to support them.
“You agreed [at a meeting] that the issue of affordable rent is one of the biggest issues facing small businesses in London. I remember that day and the feeling of hope that I had from your response so I am called to write to you now to ask for your support.
“TfL is demanding that I pay £70,000 in rent arrears because they tripled my rent in 2018. If I do not pay this amount in total, TfL expects me to vacate my arch and leave Hackney.”
Mr Maloney has support from his customers. One told ITV News London: “He’s been here for ages. Women trust him, and a lot of women don’t trust other garages. He’s got all local people round here, he’s got people from out of the area that come here as he’s recommended by other people as well. He’s a good man. He’s an honest man and they’re just trying to rip the life out of him.”
Another said: “There’s only so many breweries you can put in railway arches. And I think there seems to be a lot of them and I appreciate you’ve got to find a use for them. But businesses like this [Mr Maloney’s] have been using them for a long, long time very successfully. And I think it seems a shame to lose them simply because of money.”
Source: ITV News
Auto Torque has partnered with Garage Wire to bring you all the latest aftermarket news.