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Commercial lease problem - court action


Generalhammond
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Hello all!

 

I hope someone can help with a big problem I have.

 

This is a little long winded but ill try to make it brief.

 

I was MD of a small company that ran a small shop.

Recession hit and we found ourselves unable to pay the bills, suppliers and rent.

 

I took advice from our accountant to liquidate the company.

 

Most of the problems are now sorted out but I have been left with an awfull lot of debt which was from personal guarantees on bank accounts, credit cards and some trade accounts.

I am at present managing to pay all of these mainly by arrangments entered into with said companies. Suprisingly enough most have been very helpfull. I think they are just gratfull to get what they can instead of making me bankrupt and getting nothing!!

 

The biggest problem I have is from the lease on the shop.

We took a five year lease and had just 10 months left to run. This was personally guaranteed.

 

The Landlord has written to me on numerous occasions, everytime he writes the amount seems to change!

 

I was advised to 'play him'. To keep requesting clarification of amounts or evidence of monies being requested.

I managed to keep this up for about 18 months.

 

He has now launched a small claim for the following...

 

Unpaid utillity bills which he paid and would invoice us for £355.50

Rental of extra storage space (for which we had no written agreement) £330

5 months of back rent. We agreed on a lower rent while we were struggling. This ammount is the difference between what was paid and what our normal rent would have been. £625

Unpaid rent for the last 2 months we were there .£2250.

Estimate of time and materials to carry out decoration externally and interior. £250

Less £1000 deposit paid at start of lease - £1000

Interest upto date of small claim at 4.5% £250.87

Court fee £108.

 

Total £4294.37

 

(much less than he originally tried to claim which was about £7500. I would say he has tried to get it under the small claims threshold).

 

I have addmited on the forms to the unpaid utillity bills. The underpaid rent and 1 months rent. Total £2105.50

 

I also found a mistake in the lease stating we only have to pay 1/3 of the business rates for the property. We were in fact paying 100%.

A total of £7560.13 too much.

 

I was advised to make a counter claim for £5454.63. (the difference in what i have addmited to and the rates overpayment.

 

I think that may have really annoyed him as he then made an 'application for amendment' at the court and added the following..

 

the difference between what the new tennant is paying and what i would have been paying upto the end of our lease. £3555

 

The cost of drawing up new lease between himself and the new tennant.

£500x2

 

Additional court fee £117

 

Total now £8966.37

 

(obviously a little scary!!!)

 

He also goes on about how I earn about £13000 a year more than I am stating on the court papers.

 

I have also seen on the lease that the 4th schedule has not been signed. I belive that this covers the guarentee????

I did however sign the end of the lease.

 

Does anybody think this may get me out of this???

 

Today we went to court to see if the application for ammendment would be grated by a district judge. He has granted it but seemed very annoyed at the landlord that he had not filled out the paperwork correctly.

He also mentioned that we sould both be VERY sure if the guarentee stands. Judge has given landlord 1 month to re-subbmit then me 1 month to prepare before going to trial.

 

Im at a loss now as to what to do. i cant afford a solicitor but wonder if it may be easier to just offer him the ammount I admit to but under a payment plan or to go all the way to trial.

 

Some other facts..

I belive he is just trying to prove a point and does not really need the money.

He is a nasty individual and would probably tell lies to get things his way.

His health is not good. He is about 70 and has a heart condition.

I belive he will represent himself in court.

He is alot more educated than me and I belive he has done this before.

 

Thankyou all for taking the time to read this and any advice you can offer.

Thanks also to the site owners for providing a great platform for help.

 

Merry Xmas,

 

General Hammond

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Hiya,

 

I have moved this to the legal forums for more views

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Just to confirm a couple of things

 

Did you sign the lease as a Director on behalf of your company

 

The personal guarantee is unsigned

 

If the answer to both of those is yes, then I would suggest that is good news for you.

 

He also mentioned that we sould both be VERY sure if the guarentee stands.

 

As the judge said - this is whe whole crux of the matter. You may well wish to see a solicitor just to advise you on this single point.

 

 

On a side note, he must actually prove that the new lease he signed was for 335 less per month than you were paying and that it actually did cost him 500x2 to sign the new lease

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