A language school obtains a temporary injunction preventing the owners from changing the locks of the premises

OPERATOR A language school with more than 600 students has won a temporary High Court injunction preventing its owners from changing the locks on its Dublin-based premises.

The injunction was granted, on an ex parte basis, this evening by Judge Paul Burns in favor of Haseeb Ahmed, who is the principal of Liffey College.

The college says it rents premises at Maltings Business Park, Marrowbone Lane, off Cork Street in Dublin 8 from Paul and Geard Dormer.

The court heard that Ahmed feared landlords would change the locks on the premises before the school reopened after the Easter holidays on Monday morning amid a dispute over rent payment.

In a sworn statement to the court, Ahmed said that in a meeting last month, the landlord threatened to change the locks on the building without notice.

However, the court was told during the hearing that an email received by Ahmed’s lawyers shortly after the claim began, denied that such a threat had been made by the owners.

Seeking the injunction, Ronnie Hudson Bl for the plaintiff said that despite the content of the email, his client remained very concerned that college students and staff would not be able to access the premises on Monday morning.

The lawyer specified that his client occupied the 1st floor of the attic of the premises at the foot of a lease concluded for four years and 10 months with the owners in 2019 for an annual rent of €160,000.

The court heard that arrears had accumulated, but the plaintiff claimed the arrears were being cleared.

Problems arose after the premises were placed in receivership, leading to High Court proceedings between the owners and the financial institutions who appointed the receivers.

Arising from what is claimed to be the ambiguous situation, Ahmed said rent and arrears were deposited into his lawyer’s account pending the outcome of this case.

The lawyer said that the owners were not happy with this proposal and threatened to change the locks and prevent his client and college students who came from abroad to attend the school, to have physical access to premises.

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The defendants’ attorneys said they had no right to change the locks.
The lawyer said assurances had been sought from the owners that the locks would not be changed until Monday, but said none had been given.

Judge Burns said he was “very reluctantly” prepared to grant a temporary injunction against the defendants.

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

The judge said he was “less than impressed” by the correspondence between the parties, which should have been “much clearer”.

Given the circumstances, he was content to put an injunction preventing the locks from being changed until Tuesday, when the case will return to court.

Sylvester L. Goldfarb