Tiny kosher shop in court over big row

The Jewish Chronicle - - Special Report - BY NATHAN JEFFAY

A BIT­TER dis­pute be­tween Bri­tain’s small­est kosher shop and the char­ity it rents space from is to be heard in Manch­ester County Court next month.

Like 40 other com­mu­nity-fo­cused busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions, the 100 sq m Kosher Ex­press store rents space from the Manch­ester Jewish Com­mu­nity Cen­tre (MJCC) at its Prest­wich premises.

MJCC rentals do not in­volve a lease, but sim­ply an ex­change of let­ters, a process that leaves room for am­bi­gu­i­ties.

Dur­ing the hear­ing, on De­cem­ber 5, the two sides will of­fer con­flict­ing in­ter­pre­ta­tions of their agree­ment.

The clash is over two ship­ping con­tain­ers that Kosher Ex­press has placed next to its en­trance, in the cen­tre’s car park. The shop’s owner, Aoz Alzhaver, claims rights over the spot where they stand, while MJCC trustee Brian White is ask­ing for a court or­der for their re­moval, say­ing the shop­keeper’s author­ity ex­tends only to use for ve­hi­cles. They make his cen­tre “look like a ship­ping port”, he com­plains.

Mr White also wants Mr Alzhaver to settle sev­eral elec­tric­ity bills, which he claims are un­paid by way of “pun­ish­ment” for MJCC’s de­mand for re­moval of the con­tain­ers.

Mr Alzhaver says the op­po­site. He says rent still cov­ers power costs, as a five-year-old agree­ment to that ef­fect is still in force, and that the threat of re­mov­ing the con­tain­ers is be­ing used by Mr White to pres­sure for money to which his cen­tre is not en­ti­tled.

Their agree­ment “says what the rent is, and he wants more money”, says Mr Alzhaver.

Mr White says rent ceased be­ing allinclu­sive when Kosher Ex­press in­tro­duced more chillers.

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