Hello, welcome to the website. My name is Tony, I can assist you with this.
The lease and the business are two different, but inter-related things.
Do you have a written partnership agreement?
OKay. First, you need to end your business dealings together. You do this by giving notice to her (in writing) saying that the partnership is now dissolved, and that it needs to be wound up.
This means she must cooperate in selling the lease.
If she does not, then you can apply to the High Court for an order that the partnership be wound up and that the property be sold etc.
Then you go through an accounting exercise to who out who is due what once the lease/business have been sold.
I appreciate you sent letters and they're returned, in which case, you need to make reasonable enquiries to find her. You should look at the electoral role online, using services like 192.com.
If you cant find her, then you can still serve papers at her last known address.
This would be valid service for court papers. If she doesn't then partake in the proceedings, the court will simply do what it has to in order to enable the partnership to be wound up and the lease sold without her signing it over etc.
Okay, have you issued court proceedings?
If you cant find her, then to dissolve the partnership, service of the court proceedings will be effective to dissolve it.
You would use an N1 Claim Form, from the Court, and serve that on the last known address.
New leases can be granted without the court's consent, the issue is whether the old one can be ended.
I wonder if your landlord can not claim that there is some breach of the agreement entitling him to forfeit. That way, the lease falls away and you could enter into a new one. I don't know whether that would be right for you, but it's worth considering.
It's just the way proceedings are started at court, to seek a declaration that the partnership is dissolved and for further directions regarding its winding up.
To be honest, I would recommend you get a solicitor to do this for you as this type of claim isn't a standard type of thing, and it's best to do with legal assistance.
You should phone around a bit, there are people out there that would likely do this on a no win no fee agreement basis for you.
Or most possibly at a lower hourly rate.
Smaller firms might be better in this respect, and the larger ones are more likely to do a no win no fee.