Eason cites 'toilet smells and thefts' in €423k rent row
Eason, the books and stationery store, owes its landlord at Liffey Valley shopping centre €423,000 in rent arrears, the Circuit Civil Court has heard.
Barrister Michael Howard, council for Liffey Valley Limited and LV Property Phase 1 Limited, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that Eason and Son had effectively given themselves a rent reduction last year.
Mr Howard said Eason, after withholding 30pc of the rent for the quarter commencing April 1, 2014, had continued to withhold 25pc of the rent for the last two quarters of 2014 and had paid no rent for the first quarter of 2015.
Mr Larry Fenelon, of Leman Solicitors, for Eason and Son, told the court he had been served with an affidavit on behalf of the landlords only on Friday last and required an adjournment to reply to it and lay out Eason's claim that the matter should be referred to arbitration.
He said there was an arbitration clause in the lease and the landlords had brought a motion in the wrong jurisdiction to stay any dispute going to arbitration.
Solicitors for the landlords, disputed that there had been a refusal by representatives of the landlords to engage with Eason in respect of complaints raised last year.
Eason, in stating last May that it had reduced its rent by €70,500, had outlined a number of grievances which the company alleged could be summarised as poor estate management.
The company complained about the quality of transient, seasonable and permanent retailers being admitted to the shopping centre in recent years.
They also pointed to the lack of an agreed five-year rent review which, Eason claimed, ought to have taken place in October 2013 and had not.
They claimed there was no suitable exterior and car park marketing profile by the landlords of the Eason store which paid the fifth highest rent in the centre.
They also said there was an adverse affect on customer shopping experience of alleged smells from the centre's main toilets.
The bookstore also complained of inadequate standards for security in the centre allegedly leading to a disproportionate level of stock loss to theft than any other of Eason's stores leading to annual expenditure by Eason of €18,000.
Judge Linnane, adjourning the landlords' application until next month to facilitate new evidence, said the parties should try to come to some arrangement.
A statement released on behalf of the landlords after the hearing read: "Hines Ireland, as managing partner for Liffey Valley, totally rejects all the claims made by Eason and Son in respect of the management of the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre."