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Hi. My wife and I recently surrenedereda lease on a golf business.

We are personal guarantors for...
Hi. My wife and I recently surrenedereda lease on a golf business. We are personal guarantors for the lease. There are rent arrears of £54k. We signed the lease app 4 years ago.
However we believe that the background to the granting of the lease may provide us with some defence.
Prior to this landlord taking over I had operated under an unstable landlord (on completion of the sale of the estate where my business was situated, the original landlord was admitted to rehab where he remained for the best part of 3 years. This became public knowlege when he was founfd guilty of using threatening behavior and used his addictions as mitigation for his behavior) This original landlord always promised a lease but it never arrived. Part of my business was a cafe. Just prior to his sale of the estate he visited me with a local doorman and told me he was taking the cafe off me the next day and giving it to his girlfriends family. He added that if I didnt like it he would take the whoile business off me. I was left with no choice.
About 6 months later the estate was sold and I met the new lanlord. He asked me if there were any problems with my business. I explained the circumstances of the cafe handover which shocked him. Upon our lease negotiations he agreed to hand the cafe back to me in a further 7 months time when the then occupiers agreement expired. We struck a deal on the rent on that basis. Almost immediately harrasment started form the cafe busioness eventually resulting in the cafe lease holder being warned under the harrassment act. Along side this a whispering campaign started about me including that I was a customer at a local brothel (this was repeated to the laNDLORD WHO CONFIRMED theyd repeated it to him, I asked how I was expected to attract and retain customers with neighbors like this (it was a golf business thats main customers were childrenwomen and retired people. The lanlord reneged on his commottment to give me back the cafe and the harrassment continued but noe directed at me. I was falsley accuse dof criminal damage to the cafe and was issued a fixed penaly. I defended myself in court and was aquitted. The magistrate said he did not find the evidence credible. Throughout all of this I kept the landlord informed verbally and in writing but he never once did anything to protect me. We did sign a lease without the cafe on because we were so finacially committed. Do I have any kind of defense?

I contend the landlord reneged on an agreement
failed to protect my business form un neighbourly behavior,
Allowed my business to be destroyed by failure to act
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
6/1/2011
UK-Justice
UK-Justice, Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 16,193
Experience: Called to the Bar in 2007
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Thanks for your question. Please remember to click ACCEPT once you get my answer.

In my view you do not have a defence,

This is because you signed a legally binding contract.

A court would only set aside this if the subject matter was materially different to that which you were expecting.

As y knew it was a lease I assume you were happy with the terms. If not,You should not have signed it.

If you had no choice and claiming duress the court would ask why was this not done as soon as you signed? Why have you waited until the guarantee payments have been called in?

The court would ask if you read the document before signing, of course it is assumed you did and If you did not the court would not take that as a defence,

I am sorry this is not the answer you were looking for but based in the fact there is a signed contract, this is the legal position,
UK-Justice
UK-Justice, Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 16,193
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Is it worth us trying a defense in an effort to reduce the amount. Our finacial position means we cannot pay anyway and the equity in our property is negligable. Do we admit and and show our finacial inability to pay? Or do we try our weak defense and hope for a sympathetic hearing?
Yes you cab certainly mitigate for his breach of contract and his conduct.

Wile this would Not write off your liability it could certainly reduce it somewhat.

You would need to document all the incidents for the court and say that the landlord failed to give you reasonable use and enjoyment of the property.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago

Is it logical for us to issue a counter claim?

The landlord reneging on his original agreement to hand us back meant that I was unable to run a golf club with a membership and social functions as I and my staff were not welcome.

This meant I had to create alternative facilities to offer hospitality for the membership, In total about £20k

I also designed an 18 hole golf course for the landlord which is about to be built. This was on the understanding that I would be running it.

 

If we were going to counter claim, now would be the obvious claim, although it goes without saying that all we really want is to be left alone

You can try a counter claim you Woukd need to prove the breaches.

I would just mitigate your claim down.
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