I wonder if there is anyone that could advise me in a pressing matter.
Below are the details:
Myself and two others held a lease for a commercial property between June 2012 to June 2017.
In 2015 upon the breakdown of the business we had agreed with the landlord to surrender the lease and hand back the keys. The keys were handed back amicably however we were foolish in not signing any documents and neither was any provided or suggested. Until this time all business rates had been paid and settled.
In the last two weeks a letter was received at my parental home (where i resided at the time but have not been for the last few years) about a liability order that had been at the Mags Court.
This letter was handed to me via a family member and this is the first instance were i learnt about any of this issue. I immediately called the local council and told them the facts who had informed me that the landlord had informed them that we were liable for the business rate payments for the period of August 2015 until June 2017 (beginning the the circa when the keys were handed back and end of the original lease)
I advised the council that the lease was surrendered upon agreement with the landlord and there was no paperwork besdies WhatsApp messages providing undoubtable proof that there was an agreement and the keys were given back to such extent the landlord requested the keys so that he could put it back on the market.
I sent the council copies of the WhatsApp messages to review and explained the circumstances. They did not respond to this.
Earlier this week, a family member called me to inform me that an Enforcement Agent had visited my parental address looking for me. The Enforcement Agent was informed that i do not live at the address - he spoke to a 15 year old 'minor' and left some correspondence.
I was supplied with this Enforcement Notice and proceeded to call the Agent informing him that i did not reside at that address and asked him why he had spoken to a child to which he replied he was not aware and then claimed that this is the address that they have. I complained and asked him why a sensitive piece of correspondence was left in the knowledge that i did not reside there and i currently have no fixed abode. I also questioned him on their registration with the Information Commissioner (i am a Data Protection expert) and noticed that the company Onesource was not registered and in a number of places are non-compliant with Data Protection regs - he immediately hung up.
I proceeded to contact the business rate team and asked them if they had reviewed the WhatsApp messages to which they replied they had not but would not review them as they do not think it is sufficient but asked me to speak to the landlord and get some documentation.
Having spoken to the landlord he refused to acknowledge that we had agreed to terminate the lease and would not speak further. However, upon reading 'implied surrender' there is no doubt that the nature of the messages provide outline that 'the agreement is inconsistent with the continuation of the lease' as such there is an 'implied surrender'.
I again messaged the council and asked them review the messages as there is no prescribed method for an 'implied surrender' if they are not able to do so then they should escalate. This is all in addition to a notice to the Information Commisioner with regards to the data processing activities which are non-compliant and subject to substantial fines.
My family members at my parental home (whom i have little contact besides a younger family member) are as far as i am aware working on a Statutory Declartion to advise the council and enforcment agent of my non-residence.
I did not receive any correspondence from the council or courts as i do not live at the address and any that was sent there was likely returned or destroyed - i do not know. I have tenancy agreements for residences that i resided over the last few years but do not want to provide them. As mentioned at this time, i am living with some friends and couch surfing whilst i find a place to rent.
I have not assets or cars or anything of substantial value - not even a TV in my name.
Additionally, I am no longer in touch with my business partners and do not know exactly where they live. They only have my address.
The business was run under a Ltd company (now dissolved) but the lease and business rate were in individual names.
Is there a way to appeal to the courts? or the council? What are my options?
I would appreciate any advise you can give me.