Prince Evans secures £30,000 pay-out for tenant

The Claimant Ablethird Ltd (in Administration) owned a number of amusement arcades and properties in the West London area. Prince Evans represented Ms Marczak who had been employed by the Claimant since February 2004 as an area manager.
In late 2005 the Claimant informed Ms Marczak that she could live in a property owned by them which would make it easier for her to carry out her duties as an employee in the local area. Duties included collecting takings, managing and training staff and arranging to rent out empty properties owned by the Claimant. Ms Marczak was shown a property by the Claimant in Ealing, a flat above commercial premises which was in a poor condition and uninhabitable at the time. The Director of Ablethird agreed with Ms Marczak by way of letter the following terms:

a) Ms Marczak would refurbish the Flat Premises and would pay for the works herself
b) The Claimant would lease the Flat Premises to Ms Marczak for a period of 10 years at a reduced rent of £100 per month.
c) Ms Marczak would pay for any on-going maintenance during her occupation of the Flat Premises
d) Ms Marczak’s right of occupation was not tied to her continued employment with the Claimant.

In reliance upon this agreement Ms Marczak undertook refurbishment works at the property at a considerable expense.

The Claimant went into administration in December 2009 and its Receivers issued possession proceedings in June 2012 at Brentford County Court seeking to recover possession of property in Ealing as well as damages stating that that Ms Marczak was unlawfully occupying the property as a trespasser on the basis that a) she no longer had a right to occupy the property as her employment with the Claimant had come to an end b) that the letter granted by the Claimant to Ms Marczak did not provide her with a tenancy agreement on the terms expressed.

Prince Evans filed a Defence for Ms Marczak on the basis that given her continued occupation of the property, it would be unconscionable for the Claimant now to deny Ms Marczak the right to occupy the property and therefore the Claimant was ‘estopped’ from seeking possession of the property. It was also argued that when the Claimant granted a lease of the property to Ms Marczak it was with a view to renewing the agreement on its expiry. A counter claim was also filed seeking damages in lieu amounting to the difference between the market rent for the property and the low rent paid by Ms Marczak for the remaining period of the 10 year agreement.

The case was listed for a 2 day trial as a multi-track claim. Parties complied with disclosure of a vast amount of documents as well as filing witness evidence.
Lengthy negotiations took place between the parties and Prince Evans managed to secure an out of Court settlement prior to the Trial. The Claimant agreed to;

a) enter into a formal Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement with Ms Marczak of the property for a period of 6 months ending on 1st August 2013 at the current rent paid by her; £100 per month.
b) The Claimant also agreed to pay Ms Marczak the sum of £30,000 on her vacating the property to reflect the money spent on refurbishment works by her. Monies would be held on account by the Claimant’s Solicitor until Ms Marczak yielded vacant possession of the property.

If you require further information please contact Aisha Akhtar, Solicitor in the Social Housing team on 020 8799 1884