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Hell of a fight with trust

William Keedwell owned Hell Pizza in Masterton from 2018 to 2020. PHOTO/FILE

Story by Soumya Bhamidipati

After news that Supercheap Auto in Masterton was asked to cease trading immediately and given 14 days’ notice to vacate by landlord Lands Trust, another business owner has come forward saying they experienced similar treatment.

Former Hell Pizza Masterton owner William Keedwell said he had to get a lawyer involved after Masterton Trust Lands Trust, his landlord at the time, asked him to vacate the store’s Queen St premises within 14 days.

“I was having problems with the landlord compared to what was agreed in the lease,” Keedwell said.

He requested the trust fix the store’s flooring in 2019, after it had been damaged by a car crashing into the side of the building in 2018.

When Keedwell questioned why his request was declined, he was told to read his lease.

“When I read the lease … he’d given away the carparks to the neighbours.”

Keedwell then asked for a reduction in rent but was instead asked to vacate the building.

“I was like holy sh**, can he do that?”

After unsuccessful approaches to the trust’s board, Keedwell decided to bring in a lawyer because he could not afford to move the business.

“They do hold the purse strings to someone’s business,” he said.

“It costs a lot of money to refit and relocate.”

After discussions, it was agreed the trust would fix the flooring, reduce the rent, and allow Keedwell to continue leasing the building, which he did until he sold the business in 2020.

“I think [the trust] is used to big commercial tactics,” he said.

“It is a trust, so it is for the community, and my question is … are businesses not part of the community? They do a lot of good, but some of that good should be for businesses.”

Keedwell was concerned to hear something similar had happened with Supercheap Auto.

MTLT did not respond to the Times-Age’s requests for comment.

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