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Looking for some advice om a commercial lease signed in personal names. Long winded, but here go's....

 

Signed a lease in joint names (business partner) for 5 years, for 2 units, with a break clause after 3 years.

 

2 1/2 years into this , we had to put company (ltd) into liquidation.

 

At the time landlord stepped back and said he would not pursue for the remainder of lease (approx £140k), if we wanted to start again and remain in the building (using 1 unit). If things went well, then he wanted us to address the issue of the remaining unpaid liability of the lease. We made it quite clear that we would never be able to afford both units given the monthly cost , £4,700 , for a fresh out of the box business.

 

We decided to start again, and after 3 months it was stated that if we were to remain in the building, then it should not cost the landlord for us to be there, and we were paying all associated costs for the area we were using.

 

Our accountant thought we were mad , and suggested we vacate the property, and move to one whose costs were more in line with the size business we were running. We went against this advice, and remained, thinking this was the right thing to do.

 

We did try to exercise our break clause, in an attempt to limit our liability, but as we were unable to pay the sum involved with this clause,therefore it was not accepted.

 

On several occasions over the following 2 years, we were approached regarding payment of liability, but we were unable to due to the fact that the rent we were paying was too high for the business, so no extra profit was being generated for us to do this, but we did suggest that the fact that we had remained, and not left should count towards something, as the building would have remained empty, therefore no rent would have been earned. (There were no enquiries for our unit in those 2 years). This fell on deaf ears, and the terms of the lease were pushed under our noses.

 

At the end of last year, our lease ran out, and the landlord was lucky enough to find a new tenant for our unit. We offered/were offered another previously un let part of the property for re location.

 

Again, the accountant advised us to move, the landlords agent suggested that the longer we remained a tenant, the less the need for the full liability to be paid. We ignored the accountant (again!), and felt it was the right thing to do, given the liability.

 

This time the landlord has refused a new lease, unless we pay increase rent. We stated that we cannot afford to pay any more, as the costs were still high for the business. He has now stated that if he can find anyone who will pay more, then if we can pay the new price we can remain, if not we need to move. Ho hum....

 

Then out of the blue, we have now received a letter from his solicitor demanding payment of over £80k, plus £6k interest, by way of £9k deposit within 14 days, with the rest payable over 3 years. It was also stated that interest was now being accrued at the rate of £8 per day. This is based on the feeling (not fact) the landlord has about our business, ie increased turnover.

 

Any ideas where we stand? Can he force us out? What rights do we have/

 

It must be noted that since the formtion of the new business, the rent has always been paid on time, and we are not in arrears in that respect.

 

Cheers

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Not sure this is the right place on a consumer forum, however somebody may have the experience to give some advice.

Suggest you speak to a solicitor to discuss your options as it seems a bit tangled and would have to look through the contracts etc.

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