Fund brings case against solicitors over alleged rent arrears of €3.31m

Solicitors with Byrne Wallace say they have fully complied with their rent obligations

The case is due to return to the Commercial Court in July.

The case is due to return to the Commercial Court in July.

 

A fund has taken proceedings against a number of solicitors with law firm Byrne Wallace in their capacity as lessees of the premises from which it operates.

The case centres on alleged rent arrears of €3.31 million under a lease for the firm’s offices at 87/88 Harcourt Street in Dublin.

The case relates to a claim by Dengrove DAC for alleged rent arrears under a lease dated December 2003, assigned to the firm in October 2012.

The solicitors have said they have complied with their obligations. The solicitors say they have reached a rent restructuring agreement with the landlord to pay, from January 2014, an annual rent of €1.3 million and, from November 2018, to pay a “market rent” of not less than €1.75 million as distinct from an upwards-only rent of €2.21 million.

The row arose after Dengrove bought from a Nama company loans and related securities of Nesco Properties Ltd, landlord or lessor of the premises.

Dengrove claims Nesco had in early 2017 defaulted in complying with its obligations to the fund, as a result of which the fund appointed Luke Charleton and Andrew Dolliver as joint receivers over Nesco’s secured assets, including the lease on the Harcourt Street premises.

The fund claims the premises were demised under the lease for 25 years from November 2003 with an initial annual reserved upwards-only rent of some €2.191 million and rent reviews every five years. The open market rent of the property was determined in March 2010 as €2.21 million following a rent review, it claims.

The fund claims the solicitors had from late 2013 sought to renegotiate the rent payable under the lease and had claimed, as a result of negotiations with Nesco, an agreement was reached in the terms alleged with the lessees.

The fund disputes that claim and says Nesco has denied it reached any agreement with the defendants in the terms of a draft deed of variation of lease.

It is claimed the receivers learned only after their appointment in April 2017 the solicitors were not paying the upwards-only rent of €2.21 million.

When the proceedings came before Mr Justice Brian McGovern on Monday, he was told by Mark Sanfey SC, for the fund and receivers, there was consent to have the case admitted to the Commercial Court. The judge transferred the case.