Boss of small business ordered to leave offices over unpaid rent

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SMALL business owner Paul Hague is crying foul after Sheffield Council ordered him to leave office space he has been renting at Electric Works in the city centre after a dispute over unpaid rent.

Mr Hague, from Todwick, runs BIBC, a technology firm specialising in delivering video on demand over the internet, employing four people.

The 43-year-old has been a tenant at the Sheaf Street building for three years, but has suffered from ‘tight cashflow’ in the last 18 months.

He accepts running up arrears totalling £25,000 - but says he had almost finished repaying the debt and had an order coming in which would have covered his latest rents.

But Sheffield Council said it has made repeated offers of different payment plans to help Mr Hague clear his debt and has run out of patience.

Mr Hague, who has found alternative accommodation at G1 business centre, Attercliffe, said: “We have been a tenant at Electric Works for three years and times have been hard over the last 18 months with cashflow being tight.

“We fell behind with our rent and were in arrears to about £25,000, but agreed a plan with the council and fought to keep everything going, so we have paid back £16,000 and also kept up the rent payments.

Mr Hague also believes £7,500 debt should be cancelled because he believes he was overcharged the same amount for internet bandwidth for 18 months.

Edward Highfield, of Creative Sheffield at Sheffield Council, said the situation had dragged on for more than 18 months.

He said: “Electric Works must operate on a commercial basis and we believe most other landlords would have taken action long before now.

“The bottom line is the council is owed a significant sum of money. We have done everything we can to try and help Mr Hague, including offering a smaller office space.

“We have tried to help Mr Hague as much as we can but the fact remains that after 18 months, we have not been able to find a solution to this issue.”