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Ask James Mather Your Own Question
James Mather
James Mather,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 22629
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My late husband was in partnership operating two business

Customer Question

My late husband was in partnership operating two business alongside each other. 12yrs ago they decide to split, my husband having the garage and his partner the pump business. Nevertheless they still co-own the building. Days after my husband's death (Dec 2011) the ex-partner changed the locks and was going to sub-let my business to someone else. We overcame that and I have run the garage since Jan 2012. There used to be an account where rent was paid to pay all rates, utilities and building insurance. We sub-let the MOT bay for £1225.00p.m and the ex-partner has been collecting this to pay off a loan that he and my husband had and should have finished last Nov. He only pays the loan amount and keeps back £164.20. He failed to pay the loan for 3mths at end of last year but has done so now. He now keeps the £1225.00 which he claims is his as I get the profit from the garage. Surely this isn't correct and if so then I should get a share of the profits from his business? He has refused since Dec 11 to contribute to the rates, electricity, water etc and this is left to me, despite his names being on the bills. He also uses the building for his mailing/business address and has sub-let his half in the past. He says he uses the building at unsociable hours to run his business and he also feels the half owns all my garage equipment/machinery, even the new things purchased by my late husband after the partnership divided. They never had a formal agreement so it wasn't formally dissolved. Neither of us can sell our share of the building without consent of the other. I have tried local solicitors but no-one seems to be able to give me an answer, not even the ones who drew up the agreement when they purchased the building nearly 30years ago. Lesley X XXXXXXXX

Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.

So you have the MoT test bay in the garage and he has the pumps but for some strange reason he thinks he should have income from MoT bay?

Have you actually tackled him about this?

What is £164.20 for?

Is the split of garage v pumps doocumented?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

When my husband was alive the rent from the MOT bay went into a separate account in both their names to pay the buildings insurance, loan that they took out when in partnership and the utility bills. My husband also paid £400 which he was under impression so did ex partner but I have now found this not to be the case. When I tackled him he said that it was a "gentleman's agreement" with my husband that he paid a top up because he used more water and electricity. The premises are divided and the pump business was there, when I say pumps I mean sewerage/industrial pumps not fuel. I have tackled him again today because there is an overdraft on the account in their joint names which he now says is for me to pay although he has incurred lots of charges for late/non-payment of the loan. I was under the impression from the business manager that he agreed to pay this off with the rent from MOT bay £1225.00 but the ex partner today told me that was his money because I had the profit from the garage and he wasn't liable for the overdraft. I said if that's the case then I would be entitled to half the profit from his business. My late husband once offered to pay the rent for MOT bay and have it back but he refused unless he had half the profit. The £164.20 is the difference between loan repayment and rent collected per month. It isn't officially documented but general knowledge to all that they split up esp their accountant at the time who carried on working for them in their individual businesses, still does for ex partner but we changed. The last accounts drawn up in their partnership was 2001.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I have received email saying you require more information?? I replied last night and cannot see any questions other than those I've replied to.

Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.

I think that you
need to do two things if you are going to carry on.

The first thing
you need to do is formalise the agreement of who has what part of the property
and therefore that will crystallise who gets which income. At the moment, the
arrangements of a bit here and a bit there and a bit deducted for something
else which may or may not be paid by someone who may or may not pay it is
extremely fragmented and bitty and are not surprised that it is a bit of a
mess. He seems to be taking advantage of that using smoke and mirrors.

The next thing to
do is to lay down on paper exactly what is being paid by who , in respect of
what and when, and then do a reconciliation of what is owed by who, to whom in
respect of what.

The more work you
do on this the less work you will have to pay a solicitor or an accountant for
it I suggest that when you have got all your figures together, you get the
accountant to check over them.

You then present
them to the other guy and ask for the money until you doesn't cough up or comes
with an excuse, then you are faced with suing him.

As I said earlier,
the most important thing to do, at this stage, is to formalise who is running
which part of the business

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Expert:  James Mather replied 5 years ago.
Can I assist further?