The High Court has ordered the landlord of a Dublin beauty salon to return items taken from the store earlier this month on condition he receives €20,000 towards arrears in rent he claims he is owed.
At the High Court, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy granted South Street Beauty Ltd, who operate the Nu Essence salon at South Anne Street, Dublin 2, an order compelling their landlord, Graham Quinn, to return materials, books, including customers medical record, stock, equipment, cash, and all goods seized on May 12.
Mr Justice McCarthy said that while he was satisfied to grant the injunction, pending the full hearing of the action, he said he was only prepared to order the return of the salon's equipment if €20,000 towards the €122,000 in rent owed was paid to Mr Quinn.
Mr Quinn has denied any wrongdoing and argued that the company was not entitled to have the equipment back in light of the rent owed.
Michael Delaney, for South Street Beauty Ltd, said that Mr Quinn and several others had entered the store and seized the materials on May 12, leaving customers and staff shocked.
Counsel said Mr Quinn was not entitled to take this action. Without their equipment, counsel said, the company was being held to ransom as it could not trade.
Counsel said that in 2006 the directors of South Street Beauty, Margaret and George Kelly, had entered into an agreement to lease the premises from Mr Quinn for €78,000 per year. However Mr Quinn was not the owner and had leased the building from Malpas Holdings Ltd for €44,000 per year.
Counsel said that in late 2008 the business suffered a downturn and struggled to make rent repayments. Mr Quinn was informed of this. However they continued to make some payments to Mr Quinn.
Counsel said his clients became concerned for their lease after discovering that in August 2008 no payments had been made by Mr Quinn to Malpas. They were informed in June/July of 2009 that Malpas was taking proceedings against Mr Quinn over the non-payment of rent, and subsequently issued ejectment proceedings which are pending before Dublin Circuit Court. Counsel then said that his clients, who had hoped that negotiations between the parties would resolve the matter, decided not to continue to pay Mr Quinn rent, and kept money aside.
Susan Lennox, for Mr Quinn, Wrenwood House, Kileen, Oldtown, Co Dublin, claimed that under a clause in the lease was entitled Mr Quinn to seize the goods because rent arrears dating back to 2008 had not been paid. Mr Justice McCarthy said that he was satisfied to grant the injunction because of the distress that had been caused to South Street Beauty.
However he said that the "conscious and deliberate decision" by the company to withhold rent was "wholly wrong".