Arthur -v- Layte
Fore Street Redruth
52 Fore Street Redruth had been
purchased in 1988 by Mr and Mrs Layte and Mr and Mrs Arthur on a 50
/ 50 basis. The original intention was to change it from a shop to a wine bar
but this fell through and it was rented as a shop quite successfully
up to about June 2000 when Mr Arthur said the tenant, a Mr Potts,
had stopped paying the rent and had moved from his previous address
to somewhere unknown. We believed him but were later to find out Mr
Arthur knew Mr Pott's new address and
At around the same date that the
tenant stopped paying the rent (or Mr and Mrs Arthur decided to stop
collecting it?) a Mr Everard, who operated from the shop opposite,
had expressed an interest in purchasing our shop albeit at too low a price. Mr Everard wanted the shop for
his own purposes and would not have wanted a tenanted property.
Although no rent was being paid the shop remained open and was being
operated by a Mr Farr and a Mr Amor who Mr Arthur said were not
tenants themselves but were working for Mr Potts either as his
managers or licensees.
was paid for about 18 Months. Mr Arthur insisted he was "on the
case" but had been unable to trace Mr Potts (despite knowing his
address and telephone numbers!). He had declined our offer to try and trace him (We knew
the area of his last address well and had contacts there).
On about 25 October 2001 J Layte noticed
a postcard in the window of 52 Fore Street that gave notice the shop
would close on 2 November 2001 and it was agreed with Mr Arthur we
would attend the shop on that date together with an "independent"
witness (i.e. not an owner of the shop!) to seize the tenant's
property in lieu of the outstanding rent and other debts. We would
take photos (see below) of the interior of the shop to show the condition of the
stock at takeover to avoid any future arguments over (a) what was
there and (b) The condition of what was there.
On the same date (2 November 2001) Mr Arthur and Mr Layte agreed to put the shop on the market following redecoration of
the facade. Mr Layte agreed to redecorate the facade and Mr Arthur
agreed to try to trace the tenant and recover the outstanding debt
which he estimated to be roughly £16,000.
Mr Arthur refused to pay his half of the
scaffolding cost (about £160 for one month) which J Layte considered was needed for
the redecoration of the facade and insisted that J Layte should use
his cherry picker (Access platform mounted on the rear of a large
van). Mr Arthur said he would operate the cherry picker himself and
the redecoration would only take a couple of days. The problem was
that the cherry picker, because of its size, blocked the narrow part
of Redruth main street adjacent to the shop for all vehicles larger
than a car and the only day of the week it was even slightly practical to use it
As it turned out the redecoration
involved much more than the quick pressure wash that Mr Arthur
thought was all that was needed and took six months with
the cherry picker used most Sundays as opposed to the one month it should have taken
with scaffolding (weather permitting in December).
By June 2002 the redecoration was
almost complete, it was agreed to appoint an estate agent to market
the property but the Arthurs and the Laytes could not agree a value.
The Layte's estate agent had valued it at double what the Arthurs
thought it was worth. The Arthurs appointed their estate agent (at their
value) without permission or even informing the Laytes. The Arthurs
then threatened to sell the property at auction with
no reserve and,
according to Mrs Arthur, "there was nothing the Laytes could do
to stop them". There was and we did.
On 14 June 2002 Mr Arthur made an
agreement with the solicitors acting for the tenant but declined to
tell the Laytes (equal landlords) about it.
June 2002 Mr Arthur wrote asking for a list of items removed on
2 November 2001 "for safe keeping".
June 2001 Mr Arthur wrote that it would be theft if the items
(that we owned half of but didn't know) were not returned to the
1 July 2001 Mr Lanyon and Mr Layte returned the items that had
been removed on
2 November 2001..
On 15 July 2002 Mr Arthur instigated a
Court action against the Laytes
On 26 July 2002 Mr Arthur issued
an Injunction against
the Laytes. The Injunction was refused
but the Claim was not dismissed as it should have been.
chronology of the above can be viewed here. A
longer chronology can be viewed
here. A more detailed
chronology of the Court case can be viewed here