Popular Sheffield cafe hits out at landlord for lack of consideration over rent

A popular independent Sheffield cafe which is currently unable to trade has criticised its landlord for a ‘lack of consideration’ over rent costs after being warned it could have to leave its premises following a dispute over payment.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 2:14 pm

Sebastian’s Kitchen on Sharrow Vale Road has temporarily closed because of coronavirus, with all four staff members placed on furlough to save money.

Abbie Higgins, the businesses owner, contacted her landlord before the lockdown began to ask if they could come to an agreement on her rent. She wanted to defer some of the payments, which would be paid in full in the next two quarters, to help the business through a “difficult” period.

“He emailed me back and said No in no uncertain terms,” Abbie said.

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Sebastian’s kitchen on Sharrow Vale Road.

“He said either pay the rent in full or I’m going to serve an eviction notice.”

Abbie said it was “so upsetting” to receive a warning to serve notice on her lease on Tuesday after her first late payment in seven years.

She said: “I have every intention of paying my rent in full and I’m still happy to pay it over the next three payments.

“As far as I can make out, under the Coronavirus Act that’s just been passed we are not able to have an eviction notice served on us at the moment. Late payments can’t be held against you when renewing the lease, either.”

Abbie previously spent thousands on solicitors trying to negotiate a “sensible price” on her rent payments.

She added: “There was no understanding on his side. It was straight into ‘I have no choice but to serve an eviction notice’.

“I understand that it’s his business but his total lack of flexibility or consideration for us, it just pushed it too far.”

Simon Anthony, who owns the property, pointed out his tennant has been given assistance through the Government’s furlough scheme and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund, and said he has not served an eviction notice.

He said: “I’m a landlord, not a bank. We have debt on buildings and debt like everyone else.

“There was no problem with giving her a rent holiday. When I contacted her she didn’t respond.”