Boxing gym operator gets injunction against landlord
Karl Bennett runs Underdog Boxing business in Dublin 2
Mr Bennett had signed a 20-year lease with the former owners of the building in 2014. Photograph: iStock
The operator of a boxing gym in Dublin city centre has secured a temporary High Court injunction requiring his landlord to let him back into the premises.
Karl Bennett, who runs the Underdog Boxing gym and fitness business on the third and fourth floors of Greenside House, Cuffe House, Dublin 2, sought the injunction against KC Capital Property Group Ltd.
The injunction compels the defendant to vacate and cease taking steps to repossess the premises.
Mr Bennett claims the premises was repossessed, and the locks changed, by persons acting for the landlord early last Sunday morning.
At the High Court on Wednesday, Jerry Healy SC, with Patrick O’Riordan BL, for Mr Bennett, said the premises was forcibly re-entered following “an artificially contrived” situation brought about by the landlord.
While the repossession was “not a violent one”, it could not be described as “peaceable”, counsel said. It occurred when seven men “effectively overwhelmed” a single security man working for Mr Bennett around 7am on Sunday, counsel said. His client had called gardaí but they withdrew on the basis it was a civil matter.
He said KC Capital, which acquired the building earlier this year, had issued forfeiture notices against his client, citing unpaid service charges and fire safety and planning issues which were “hotly contested” by his client.
Mr Bennett had carried out works on the building and is addressing certain planning and fire safety requirements but there was never any question of the premises being under threat of being closed due to fire safety concerns, counsel said.
The defendant should not have “unlawfully repossessed” the premises given the forfeiture notices are contested and the matter should instead have come to court, counsel said. The defendant wants to get his client out because it “wants to knock down the building and build a more valuable property on the site”, he said. That has not been denied by the defendant in its correspondence, counsel added.
Mr Bennett had signed a 20-year lease with the former owners of the building in 2014 and is the only current occupier of the building with a lengthy lease, the court was told. Counsel said, since Monday, Mr Bennett could not get access to, or open, his business, which employs seven people and has more than 500 members, including youngsters from a local boxing club. He had also received a lot of messages from the gym users seeking to know why the premises has been closed.
The court was told that, in correspondence from lawyers for the landlord, it had denied any wrongdoing, claimed entitlement to repossession and that its actions last Sunday morning were peaceable. Granting the ex parte application (one side only represented) for interim injunctions, Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds said she was satisfied to grant the orders sought and expressed concern about the circumstances of the repossession and the impact the repossession would have on Mr Bennett’s reputation. The matter was returned to next week.