Section 25: Dave, Danny and the moonlight

More leasing problems for Dave.

Having only just fought off the attempts of Implacable Holdings Ltd to get him out of the Woodham High Street premises, he now has trouble with his other leased premises – the shop in Penmire.

FinalVinyl Penmire is managed by Dave’s cousin, Danny. (Actually, Danny is Dave’s cousin’s wife – but let’s not make things more complicated than they already are). We’ll be hearing more about Danny because there is a little friction between the two of them: she and Dave don’t quite see eye to eye about exactly what Danny’s position in the business is. In true soap opera fashion, tension is running high.

For now though, Dave’s headache comes from the fact that his lease on the Penmire shop is also up for renewal. Or not…

The lease is for a fixed term which ends on 15th March 2015. Dave rang NoMuse Ltd, the landlord, towards the end of July to talk about renewing the lease – only to be told that they want to take the premises back when the lease expires. “Oh bother” (or something like that), thinks Dave, “here we go again”.

Out loud, however, he politely points out to Olivia at NoMuse that they’ve left it a bit late to drop that bombshell. (Dave remembers from a previous conversation with his strange but wise friend Simon that NoMuse should give him 6 months’ notice.) It’s only just over 6 months to the end of the lease and he didn’t receive any official notification.

“Oh yes you did,” says Olivia. “We served a section 25 notice on you in April.” And she briskly hangs up before Dave can ask what a section 25 notice is and point out that he never received it anyway.

Putting two and two together, Dave rings the Penmire shop and discovers that there was, indeed, a letter from NoMuse lying unopened in the back office of the shop. Danny had forgotten to mention it. After expressing himself in some fairly forceful, if informal language, Dave heads over to Penmire and picks up the letter. Inside he sees what a section 25 notice is.

It’s the notice from NoMuse terminating the lease and opposing the grant of a new one, on the grounds of breach of covenant. Specifically the covenant referred to is one against carrying on a business that isn’t mentioned in the lease. Puzzled, Dave turns to Danny and eventually it emerges that his enterprising cousin has been running a sideline converting music held on cassettes and vinyl to digital format.

Danny's been moonlighting

Danny’s been moonlighting

Dave fires Danny on the spot, and invokes the guidance of Simon to get him out of a fix. Dave believes that the section 25 notice was invalid because it went to the wrong address, and that the breach of covenant was nothing to do with FinalVinyl anyway so does not count as good grounds for termination.

“What you need”, says Simon, “is to take a look at Simplify the Law”.

“You could try challenging the notice, and applying to the court to grant a new tenancy, but to be honest I don’t give much for your chances. Danny’s little sideline is definitely a breach of covenant, and NoMuse can certainly use that as a reason to oppose a new tenancy

Dave has a look, and reluctantly agrees that he had better start looking for a new shop. He chalks this up to experience, and like all good businessmen he decides to have a “lessons learned” review; and the first lesson is never to employ Danny again. “At least that’s the last we’ll see of her,” he thinks…

But as on so many occasions, Dave’s optimism is misplaced. At the beginning of August he receives a letter advising him that a claim for unfair dismissal has gone in to the Employment Tribunal.

And to make life worse, another letter lands on his doorstep the following day. This one is from Tryass Iphew Dare, the solicitors for recording giants IMEDOR. It has something to do with the music that Danny has been converting to digital.

Families, eh?

To be continued…

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