Four residents of Internet café operator Manbo’s shared housing facilities who are currently facing eviction from one of the shared houses in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward have filed for a temporary injunction with the Tokyo District Court on June 12, citing that they are tenants and thus have proper rights to stay in the housing facility. Manbo apparently operates a number of these shared housing facilities, and when one of them (located in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward) was declared to be a fire hazard, residents of all the other shared house locations received a notice of eviction on May 24, giving all of them until the end of June to move out.
“Issuing a one-way order for us to vacate on such short notice is against the law,” claimed the four residents, thereby bringing the so-called “loophole house” issue into the court domain. The “loophole” is such that each one of these shared houses has an average of 100 rooms or more, where each room can have two to three tatami mats for the “residents”. The housing has neither phone nor Internet connections, and in an attempt to avoid violations of the Building Standards Act and the Fire Service Act, the Internet café operator claimed that the rooms were being used as offices. What the four complainants are pointing, however, is that they were allowed to use the rooms residences. If Manbo issued housing rent contracts, then the Act on Land and Building Leases requires that “contract cancellation must be based upon justifiable grounds, and must be issued six months in advance.”
As stated in the temporary injunction, there lies a “strong possibility that the company will confiscate tenants’ belongings and destroy the building.” If all of Manbo’s properties are taken into account, some 200 individuals could find themselves on the streets due to the eviction orders. “Tenants who have lost their right to occupancy will have nowhere to go,” the temporary injunction stated, “and their very existence may even be endangered.” At time of writing, Manbo officials could not be reached for comment.
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