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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I have a dispute with access to a business premises that I

Customer Question

I have a dispute with access to a business premises that I jointly Lease with another gentleman until August of this year.

Basically, we took the property on in January 2011 and in 2012 we opened a Car Servicing business between us along side our existing companies that were ran within the building.

Sadly, the relationship broke down last year to the point of Police involvement for theft and assault allegations on the gentleman in question. I therefore found a new premises and have been moving into this site over the last few weeks.

We share approximately £12,000 worth of jointly owned equipment bought through the said Car Servicing Business - i.e. a 50% share each from the limited company we are both directors of.

This week I moved some of my equipment to my new unit and also a few minor tools (approx purchase value of £400) however over £11,000 worth remains. He called the Police, who visited and were satisfied nothing had been stolen as I was a joint owner. It has since emerged that he told my Landlord that I 'stole' over £5000 worth of his tooling which was not the case.

Anyway, 3 days ago he changed the Locks on the property without issuing me with a key nor to my knowledge, having authorisation from the Landlord. I spoke to the Police who contacted the gentleman and he is denying me access. Likewise, upon speaking with the Landlord he basically said there was nothing he could do as the Lease is granted for us both, nor would he authorise anything and it was up to me to speak to a Solicitor and see where I stood from the point of view of changing the locks.

The Police appear to be totally fed up of the false allegations that he keeps making and supportive of me.

At present I cannot get into any part of the building which contains a lot of my private property. Surely its illegal for him to be withholding access and my question is what is the best way to approach this. Furthermore I should be entitled to free access to the unit without supervision by him which was another suggestion by the Landlord, which I found quite insulting.

Furthermore, it has come to my attention that he destroyed a number of my personally owned workshop materials within his sole occupancy, which is clearly unacceptable. I have no hard evidence of this - i.e. CCTV etc. so clearly would seem difficult to prove, although he has been the only person to have access since Thursday. My concern mainly is what other damage he has committed.

With regard to the remaining equipment, I have made an Inventory and sent this to him in order to finalise what we do - i.e. buying either party out of said equipment, splitting or simply auctioning off and splitting the proceeds.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return You do not need to wait here as you will get an email when I reply.
Alex Watts : What is it you want to achieve please?
JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

I want to have free access to the site including gaining entry and keys - as I have always done up until thursday when the co-tenant changed the locks without my authority nor the landlords

Alex Watts :

Just so that I am clear, it belongs to the Landlord, you are the tenant but the co-tenant is refusing access?

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

thats correct yes

Alex Watts :

Why wont the Landlord do anything?

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

he says that he cannot advise me as the lease is in place between us - he wont give authority for me to enter and potentially damage the property but suggest I speak to a Solicitor to confirm the legalities for gaining entry by changing the locks. He didnt give authority or deny it - hes just staying neutral which is irritating.

Alex Watts :

What does the lease say about rights and responsibilities of the co-tenant?

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

Section 1.7 Any obligation in this lease on the Tenant not to do something includes an obligation not to agree to or suffer that thing to be done and an obligation to use best endeavours to prevent that thing being done by another person.

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

7.1. The Tenant shall keep the Property clean and tidy, including cleaning the inside and outside of the windows at the Property.

10.2 The Tenant shall not leave refuse on any street or pavement outside the Property except at such times and in such a manner as in accord with the arrangements for the collection of refuse from the Property by the local authority.

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

(a) For any purpose or in a manner that would cause any loss, nuisance or inconvenience to the Landlord, the other tenants or occupier of any other property; nor

(b) In any way that would vitiate the Landlord’s Insurance of the building; nor

(c) In a manner that interferes with any right right subject to which this lease is granted.

Alex Watts :

Ok.

Alex Watts :

You need to write to the co-tenant and demand entry or say you will go to Court.

Alex Watts :

If he refuses then you can issue proceedings i

Alex Watts :

in the County Court

Alex Watts :

You are seeking an Order to allow entry and deliver up a set of keys

Alex Watts :

If he refuses to allow entry then he will be in contempt of Court

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

I am very concerned about my things in there and the vandalism. To give you some background, this person has a drug problem and is basically in the building with no supervision

Alex Watts :

He would be warned, fined or sent to prison

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

and where do I stand with the rent?

Alex Watts :

If things have been damaged then you should report this to the Police as criminal damage

Alex Watts :

You still have to pay the rent otherwise you could be evicted proper

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

I have but they have no evidence

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for myou?

Alex Watts :

But if your items are damaged then it stands to reason it must be him

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

So why is it I cannot change the locks and issue him with a set of keys?

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

Thats not how the Police have seen it as they said there is no evidence that they were ok in the first place

Alex Watts :

You could change the locks but then you could also be subject to Court Order

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

i.e. all these chemicals and products hes destroyed - all I have are empty containers in the bin as evidence

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

even if I supply him with keys/access?

Alex Watts :

You could issue proceedings yourself and sue for all your losses

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

if i went down the court route, and then he gave me access, could I still sue for my loss of use for the site?

Alex Watts :

Yes of course

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

and where do I stand in terms of if he allows me access, but wont allow me to hold keys?

Alex Watts :

Again you can seek a Court Order that he delivers up a set of keys

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

I dont understand that by changing the locks and issue him keys why I could be taken to Court - could you please explain? surely im enabling access

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

and likewise, if he wont give me keys, what would you say would be claimable?

Alex Watts :

He could try and claim losses from you. I am just making you aware of a risk

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

of course

Alex Watts :

You could claim for any losses you have suffered as a result of non access

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

I dont want him to be around when I am there - hes a nasty individual and assaulted a member of my staff, vandalised my signs etc.

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

hence why the keys are important to me

Alex Watts :

Of course. Unless the agreement states otherwise you can have your own keys

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

so therefore if he denied me keys, could I claim for loss of business and rent from him

Alex Watts :

Yes

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

Ok thats good

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else?

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

no thats great thank you

JACUSTOMER-1ka3uycv- :

I think thats all

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.

Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.

Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

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