Liffey Valley owner and TGI Friday restaurant in rent and lease dispute

The operators of a TGI Friday restaurant and the owners of Dublin’s Liffey Valley shopping center are in dispute over the forfeiture of the restaurant’s lease following non-payment of rent during the pandemic, the commercial court has learned.

Tercina Liffey Ltd has operated the restaurant in Unit 5 of the Mall since signing a lease with owners BVK Elektra 2 Liffey Valley Phase 1 ICAV in 2016.

Tercina claims that she was entitled to invoke a “rent stopper” clause of the lease in circumstances where she was entitled, due to government regulation, not to keep the premises open.

The owner claims the restaurant did not keep the business open according to its lease during times it was allowed to do so under Covid regulations.

The restaurant ceased operations on March 15 of last year and did not resume at any time until last September when the owner took possession of the premises. The owner claimed the restaurant has been able to trade since June of last year. No rent payments were made after January 6, 2020, according to the landlord.

Rent arrears

In September 2020, the landlord used the rent deposit of € 76,635 against the rent arrears at the time, reducing the amount owed at this point to approximately € 59,000. Some € 328,000 was due for rent, charges and insurance contributions as of July 1, according to the owner.

In August, she served a notice of confiscation on restaurateurs and the following month took over the premises.

Tercina Liffey then took legal action against the owner arguing, among other things, that there was no money owed, that she had the right to close and that she had suffered loss and damage, including the loss of the fit-out of the premises valued at € 1.75. million.

The landlord denies the claims and counterclaimed that the rent receiver’s provision did not apply, that there had been a default in rent payment and that Tercina was able to keep the restaurant open between June 29, 2020 and last September 8 (when it was picked up).

On Monday, Judge Denis McDonald placed the case, at the owner’s request and by consent of the parties, on the Expedited Trade List and approved instructions on how to proceed.

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