A hair and beauty salon operator in dispute with her landlord over rent arrears has asked the High Court for orders temporarily allowing her back into her workplace.
Sinead Connolly has operated the Sin E Hair and Beauty Salon from Unit 2 at the Charlesland Shopping Centre in Greystones, Co Wicklow, for over a decade.
The premises remained shut during the lockdown, she said.
She claimed, late last month, agents of her landlord, Peter McLaughlin, whom the court heard is a solicitor, entered her salon and changed the locks of the premises.
In an ex parte application (one side only represented), she said this meant she and her four staff have been unable to access the premises.
She claims the premises has been fitted out so it is compliant with Covid-19 regulations for hairdressers when those businesses can reopen to the public next week.
In reply to the judge, she accepted her landlord was claiming arrears of rent of €77,000.
Representing herself, Ms Connolly said, when she signed the original 25-year lease in 2005, the rent on the premises was “Celtic Tiger” rent of €36,800 per year which she could not pay. That rent was agreed with the defendant’s former landlords, businessmen Seán Mulryan and Seán Dunne, she said.
Mr McLaughlin, she said, had acquired their interest in the premises and she had been paying rent to him for some years.
She claimed her landlord had for some years accepted an annual market rent of €20,000.
The arrears mainly represent the difference between the rent accepted and the “Celtic Tiger” rent, she said.
She said there had been talks between the parties regarding rent going forward and she informed the landlord she had entered into a Personal Insolvency Arrangement due to difficulties with her mortgage.
However, no agreement regarding the rent was reached. She accepted her lease was probably vacated and she had sourced a new location for her business.
Ms Connolly, of West Courtyard, Tullyvale, Cherrywood, Co Dublin, said she wants orders including an injunction allowing her back into her premises for about six weeks so she could deal with her customers.
She also wants equipment in the premises that belongs to her business.
Mr Justice Senan Allen said he was not prepared to grant Ms Connolly an injunction restraining Mr McLaughlin refusing to allow her staff access the premises.
The judge, who said he anticipated the landlord’s lawyers would argue their actions were perfectly lawful, granted permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on Mr McLaughlin’s lawyers.
The matter was adjourned to early next week.