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Commercial tenancy terminated unlawfully?, deposit withheld.


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Hello. It's been a while since I last posted on here, but troubles have arisen once again!

 

This dates back to January this year, I have only just gotten myself back on my feet, so feel au am now ready to tackle this.

 

This is very complicated, I'll do my best to explain. There was a lot of naiveity on my part, as I was new to the situation. But overriding this was a huge amount of deception and lies being told by the third parties.

 

So, in September 2012, I contacted a number on a sign displayed outside a small commercial unit, with a view to leasing the property. I hastily arranged a meeting with a man claiming to be the landlord (this will make more sense as I go on).

 

He told me to meet him at his 'office' which turned out to be his car in the car park of his car wash. He brought with him a tenancy agreement. I had a good read through, although it seemed very generic, it did make direct reference to the property. A deposit of £600 was agreed, with a monthly rent of £600 to follow. I paid this fee in cash later that day, and was handed the keys.

 

I immediately set out to purchase relevant equipment. I was opening a two bay car service and repair workshop. I purchased a brand new hydraulic car lift, a compressor and various tools at a cost of approximately £2500. I also purchased various signage and livery at a further cost of £600. Additional costs were incurred in the form of insurance, advertising and various legal costs.

 

Things started well, and business was picking up. I arranged to fit my main sign above the unit. Once fitted, I got a very informal 'text' message informing me that the sign needed to be taken down, as the 'main' landlord disapproved. I questioned this, as it was the first time I had ever heard of the main landlord. He gave the impression he was the property holder. This aroused my suspicions. After a lot of back and forth conversations, it was agreed, that if the words 'servicing, repairs and Tyres' were removed (leaving only my business name) then it could remain. He then revealed this was due to a garage on the same estate complaining I had taken all of his customers. To this I thought, what has it got to do with me? Why are you intervening?

 

Anyway, desperate to continue, I failed to comply, and the sign remained.it was as I erected more signs the problem got worse. I was having a torrid time (with all of the sign issues, the confusion over who the landlord was and also parking problems).

 

Out of the blue one day, the guy who owned the other garage came to me, at first there was tension, but after he explained what was going on I completely understood. It turned out, the whole estate (compromising of 3 buildings and one outdoor use area (another car wash ) was owned (under a 99 year lease) by the same company. A very large property agent in my area, 'lex Allen'.

 

When the garage owner took out his lease over 20 years ago, it was under the proviso he had exclusivity of any motor trade use, meaning my unit could not be used in any way related to the motor industry. He also detailed that at the time of his lease, the estate was bigger, but the council opted to build a bypass straight though the middle of it. The council gave the land a covenant (or something along those lines) saying that there was only certain permitted uses of the land, ( meaning that it couldn't be bulldozed to make way for a KFC).

 

A few days after this, I receive a letter from Lex Allen, telling me to immediately vacate the property. As you can imagine, this was difficult, as all of my equipment was installed, and I was in utter shock!

 

Anyway, I left the unit, and arranged a meeting with Lex Allen. He told me that he had a conversation with the man who he leased the property to (who sub-let it to me) he gave him express permission to let it to me, provided it was not in conjunction with the motor trade. Obviously, it is now clear the man who sub let it to me completely disregarded his instructions, and continued to let it to me.

 

In the lease contract he gave to me which fortunately I still have, it was clearly written that the property was to be used for the purpose of maintaining and repairing cars.

 

He refused to return my deposit of £600, stating that it cost that to dispose of two bin bags of rubbish (which weren't even mine)

 

So, was left jobless, penniless and completely disheartened. I had put everything into that business in the 6 months I was there.

 

I am so sorry about the long story I have told. I suppose the question I want to ask his, where do I go from here?

 

Do I take one of them or both of them to small claims court? Should Lex Allen have made more checks?

 

In trying to contact Lex Allen, he is refusing to sign for my letters, and will not arrange another meeting.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Edited by rhysd1309
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I don't think the the LL has done anything wrong; you concentrate on getting your money back and claim for compensation from the tenant who was sub-letting to you.

Suggest you see a solicitor to start proceedings; hopefully he has some assets.

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Thanks for for the reply. Although not what I really wanted to hear, as obviously the main landlord has a lot more to lose than the ropey character I actually 'let' from. I was hoping he would have to approve of any sublet tenant.

 

Anyway, it wasn't just the rubbish they are saying caused a reduction in deposit. They are also saying because I didn't return the keys (because I was receiving threats) they had to change the padlock on gate. I know for a fact they haven't done this, as the same padlock is still on there now.

 

What (if any) chance have I got of getting anything back. It's just I don't really want to sink more money into taking the matter to court, and not get anything back in return.

 

Thanks again

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Also, just to add. The guy in question is the most unprofessional, manipulative and deceptive man I have ever come across. All I know is that he runs afew car washes in the local area. He claimed to own properties (like houses and another garage) but I think they are just tall tales he said to try and impress me.

 

If I were to take the matter to court, I highly doubt he would open the letter let alone turn up. And even if it went in my favour, I doubt further he would comply with any financial penalty imposed!

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Also, just to add. The guy in question is the most unprofessional, manipulative and deceptive man I have ever come across. All I know is that he runs afew car washes in the local area. He claimed to own properties (like houses and another garage) but I think they are just tall tales he said to try and impress me.

 

If I were to take the matter to court, I highly doubt he would open the letter let alone turn up. And even if it went in my favour, I doubt further he would comply with any financial penalty imposed!

 

If that's the case then don't waste any further time or energy on it!

 

Your complaint is only with the main LL IF he agreed that his tenant could sub-let the premises, so you'd need sight of HIS lease to determine if sub-letting is allowed. If it's not, then your claim is agains the person you made the deal with.

 

For the record, if he doesn't turn up, you'll get default judgment which you can then enforce, and since he has business premises and at least one car (which you say he uses as his 'office', he clearly has something you can get the bailiffs to take.

 

I have no more advice - that's it, so won't be responding further.

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If that's the case then don't waste any further time or energy on it!

 

Your complaint is only with the main LL IF he agreed that his tenant could sub-let the premises, so you'd need sight of HIS lease to determine if sub-letting is allowed. If it's not, then your claim is agains the person you made the deal with.

 

For the record, if he doesn't turn up, you'll get default judgment which you can then enforce, and since he has business premises and at least one car (which you say he uses as his 'office', he clearly has something you can get the bailiffs to take.

 

I have no more advice - that's it, so won't be responding further.

 

Thanks for the information, I don't mean to come across like I don't want to waste energy on this. Obviously it would be a huge help if I could recover some of my losses.

 

Anyway, I have no proof that the landlord agreed to allow the property to be sub let. When questioned about this, he stated that the sub letter told him I was there to tint car windows and similar things. Therefore, as that task wouldn't interfere with the other garage, he agreed the property could be sublet.

 

For some reason, even though the sub letter deceived both of us (it seems), the main landlord is being about as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.

 

Good news I can enforce it, to be honest this is all inspired by a tv show I was watching presented by Dom littlewood!

 

So, I have the court papers, ready to fill out. What amount do I claim? Do I have to gather receipts of equipment purchases and include those, make copies of tenancy agreement and send those along too? It's just there doesn't seem a lot of space on the form to highlight everything.

 

Thanks again.

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Sorry, just to add. Is there any legal legislation in place to make landlords keep deposits in a scheme? It was just a coincidence that he brought a new car a few days after I handed over the first payment.

 

Cheers

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To be clear there is no requirement for deposits taken for commercial transactions to be put in a guarantee scheme!

some agents may put in a separate client account, but if passed to LL who knows where it goes.

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