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HCR Law Events

Disaster averted for charity after expert advice on lease

Keeping a clear focus on key issues enabled Natalie Minott to help the Milton Keynes Muslim Association to deal with a former occupier of an annex to its property who took them to court, making financial claims which would have bankrupted the charity.

The Association allowed the annex to be occupied – heads of terms were agreed, but a lease was not finalised and signed. The occupier fell behind with rent after 18 months, and then wanted to sell his business to a third party and leave. Since there was no lease, that could not happen, and the Association asked for the property simply to be vacated. They decided not to pursue the rent arrears and the occupier left.

But some months later, the Association was taken aback to be taken to court by the occupier who alleged that he had a lease on the property, that he had to vacate it and that he had therefore suffered losses based on a forecast of potential profits from his business.

Natalie was called upon to help the Association and an initial court judgement went against them; their appeal against that judgement was successful, and that success continued as the business owner took every legal action open to him.

Morad Hikal of the Association said: “Natalie was always adamant that we had a good case and that we should pursue it; we are a charity funded mainly by donations, and with five staff to consider, we have to be careful with our outgoings. The charity would have gone bankrupt if it had had to pay what was claimed.

“Natalie kept us informed at all stages and explained her recommendations and options well, highlighting the process for a successful outcome.

“She was excellent to work with and her professionalism left no room for any error as the outcome has shown. We are truly grateful for her leadership and absolute devotion to her work.”

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