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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10955
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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We own a cafe. Marginally profitable. A company owns all

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We own a cafe. Marginally profitable.
A company owns all of the properties/shops around us. He also owns the land to the front. He does not own our property. We rent the building privately
Both us (not his tenants) and other cafes (which are his tenants) put tables and chairs on the land to the front for which we pay a licence fee. This a long standing arrangement going back many years
This year he has increased our rent for these tables and chairs 400%. He has not increased his own tenants at at all.
Is this restrictive practice or do we just have to swallow it.
1. This is undeniably sharp practice by the owner of this company. However, unless there is some form of rent control in operation in the area in question, the law won't intervene directly. Essentially, given the fact it is a licence, this company is not obliged to licence the area in front of your premises to you. Nor is there an obligation to rent at a certain price. The simple reality here is that some of his own tenants wants this space and the landlord is more amenable to giving them a licence to this space you currently occupy. hence the high price. But the law does not interfere in private relations unless there is some rent control is in operation in the area I regret to say. 2. However, you can make a complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority that this is an anti-competitive behaviour and should be struck down, as the landlord forces you to pay more for your space that he does his own tenants. Whilst this may see the licence fee reduced, it might also have the effect that the landlord raises the licence fee for all tenants. However, I would certainly advise you to follow up this route, as the company licence policy is anti-competitive. Go to where you can make a complaint.
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