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Language school secures temporary injunction preventing landlords from changing locks of premises

The court heard that the director of the college fears the landlords will change the locks in a dispute over the payment of rent.

THE OPERATOR OF a language school with over 600 students has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing its landlords from changing the locks on its Dublin-based premises.

The injunction was granted, on an ex parte basis, this evening by Mr Justice Paul Burns in favour of Haseeb Ahmed, who is the Director of Liffey College.

The college claims it rents premises located at the Maltings Business Park, Marrowbone Lane, near Cork Street in Dublin 8 from Paul and Geard Dormer.

The court heard that Ahmed fears that the landlords will change the locks on the premises before the school is due to reopen after the Easter recess on Monday morning in a dispute over the payment of rent.

In a sworn statement to the Court, Ahmed said that at a meeting last month the landlord had made a threat to change the locks on the building without notice.

However, the court was told during the course of the hearing that an email received by Ahmed’s solicitors shortly after the application commenced, denied that any such threat had been made by the landlords.

Seeking the injunction, Ronnie Hudson Bl for the applicant said that despite the contents of the email, his client remained very concerned that the students and staff at the college would be unable to access the premises come Monday morning.

Counsel said that his client has been occupying the 1st floor the attic of the premises on foot of a lease entered into for four years and 10 months with the landlords in 2019 for an annual rent of €160,000.

The court heard that arrears had built up, but that the applicant claims that the arrears are being dealt with.

Issues arose after the premises was placed into receivership, resulting in High Court proceedings between the landlords and financial institutions who appointed the receivers.

Arising out of what is claimed to the ambiguous situation, Ahmed said that rental moneys and the arrears were lodged to his solicitors account pending the outcome of that case.

Counsel said that the landlords were not happy with this proposal and had threatened to change the locks and prevent his client and the college’s students who have travelled from abroad to attend the school, for getting physical access to the premises.

The defendants counsel submitted do not have any entitlement to change the locks.
Counsel said that assurances were sought from the landlords that the locks would not be changed before Monday, but said that none were given.

Mr Justice Burns said that he was “with great reluctance” prepared to grant a temporary injunction against the defendants.

The judge noted that that the dispute “had been brewing” for some time.

The judge said he was “less than impressed” with the​ correspondence between the parties, which he added should have been “a lot clearer.”

Given the circumstances he was satisfied to put an injunction preventing the locks from being changed in place until Tuesday, when the matter returns before the court.

Aodhan O Faolain