A promotions company has secured High Court injunctive orders compelling its commercial landlords to allow it to return to its south Dublin rental premises.
Raw Marketing claims the landlords unlawfully retook its offices on Ranelagh’s Dartmouth Road, where the company has been based as a commercial tenant for more than a decade.
Counsel for the company, John O’Regan BL, said no notice to quit was served on his client, which has paid its rent throughout its tenancy. He said the passcodes and locks of the premises were recently changed, and the purported taking of the premises occurred last Wednesday.
The case came to court on an ex-parte basis, so only the plaintiff company was represented.
Mr O’Regan said the respondents, landlords Walter and Carol Newburn, of Frankfurt Park, Dundrum, Dublin 14, are relied on a “schedule of delapidation”, which also purports to be a forfeiture notice, that was delivered to his client on March 10th, said Mr O’Regan.
This is a “fatally flawed” document, he said, as it primarily relies on the “yield up” covenant, which requires that the premises be returned in good condition when the tenant is vacating. His client was given 14 days to remedy alleged breaches of covenant, which is “not a reasonable time” for repairing substantial works that require the engagement of experts, he added.
A previous schedule of dilapidation was given to his client in November, but there was no indication of forfeiture at that time, he said.
The landlords allegedly retook the premises on foot of the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the 14-day remedy period, the court heard.
Risk of losing valuable contracts
Raw’s initial tenancy commenced in 2011 by way of a nearly five-year lease. Upon expiry, the tenant and landlords agreed rental arrangements orally, with the annual rent increasing to €15,000. Negotiations had been under way for a new lease, but these were unsuccessful, Mr O’Regan added.
The company has five full-time staff members, as well as about 50 part-time workers who need to come to the premises to collect uniforms and kit for contracted jobs. It is not a business that can be run remotely, and its operations will be impaired if the orders sought are not granted, he said.
The case came before Ms Justice Emily Egan on Tuesday. The judge, on an ex-parte basis, made orders requiring the landlords to allow Raw back into possession of the premises and furnish it with all necessary keys and alarm codes.
She noted the plaintiff company has said it would be unable to trade without the premises and there would be a risk it could lose valuable contracts if the interim orders were not granted. It is “essential”, she said, that a reputation-based business such as this can retain its clients.
She also gave Raw permission to serve short notice on the respondents for its interlocutory injunction application.
Her orders will remain in place until the case returns before the court next Tuesday.