The landlords of a Temple Bar pub are seeking judgment for up to €717,000 against the tenant over rent arrears, the High Court has heard.
Consdorf Investments ICAV and John Bennett, landlords of the former Front Lounge, now Street 66, are claiming the arrears against the tenant, Fenway Inns, and three of its backers, Joseph Dunne, Thomas McCormack and Declan Mehigan, who were guarantors under the original lease agreement.
Fenway and the three personal defendants deny the guarantee is binding on them because they were released from it automatically in 2009 once the net asset value of Fenway went above €750,000.
The court heard a 35-year lease on the Parliament Street premises was taken out by Fenway in 1995 beginning with an annual rent of €122,500 but which, in accordance with rent reviews, rose to €270,000.
In 2011, a rent abatement agreement was reached under which the €270,000 was reduced to €220,000 until 2015 at which point it would revert to the higher figure on notice from the landlords.
A sublease for the new operators of the premises was entered into in 2017 when the landlords agreed the rent would remain at €220,000.
Arrears, which had already been growing, built up to some €345,000 by the time the landlords brought legal proceedings and now stand at €717,000, the court was told by Stephen Brady, for the landlords.
Mr Brady said it was open to the court to give judgment for the entire €717,000 or a lower sum with the dispute over the difference being sent to a full hearing.
Tim Harnedy, for the defendants, said it was up to the landlords to provide evidence that the release from the guarantee was automatically triggered in 2009 but they had not done so. That matter should go to a plenary hearing, he said.
In relation to Fenway itself, there was no such defence, Mr Harnedy said. However, there was an issue to be tried over the subletting agreement in 2017 that the rent would be at the lower figure of €220,000 until July of this year.
Ms Justice Niamh Hyland reserved her decision.