Dodging bullets

Man, been a very tense morning, and it remains so.

Today was the deadline arbitrarily declared by the landlord. This morning I got a call from one of the agents to see if I was going to meet the conditions of the deadline. I referred her to an email I had sent to a colleague of hers I had sent a few days earlier (which I have referenced here), and was asked to send it on to her.

I did that, adding a few comments by way of update. I mentioned that the buyers had submitted their personal information for review, pending acceptance, and that I had a signed deal with them. I also mentioned they had paid a deposit in confirmation of our agreement. Those last two points only vaguely correct, but certainly in the pipeline.

In the meantime I had contacted the buyers. These are extremely frustrating people with very ordinary communication skills. I confirmed with them that they had sent the details to the agent, and briefed them on the latest developments.

I called the agent about 45 minutes after sending the email to her. She read through my email and then said that the landlord was firm in his instructions – did I want to hand the keys over, or would they have to come and change the locks?

I pointed out once more that I had a firm buyer, and that if we were allowed to proceed then the arrears owing would be paid within a fortnight. I said that if they were determined to lock me out that I would seek an injunction preventing them. They asked on what grounds and I referred them to my lawyer. They said they would get back to me.

After hanging up from them I had to find a lawyer, to discuss this issue, but also about the legal rigmarole concerning the sale. I’m waiting for them to call back.

The basic points that need to be made:

  • I understand the frustration and impatience of the landlord, which is exactly what I wrote saying the other day. If I didn’t have a buyer for the business I would accept their decision with regret, but with understanding also. I do have a buyer, however.
  • They served a S56 on me. We negotiated an agreement till the end of May to allow me to find a buyer. When we met to discuss that on expiration I had a number of buyers interested and on the cusp, and was allowed to proceed.
  • As recorded here some weeks ago, when I finally had an offer to buy received the agent rejected it claiming I was making it up.
  • I visited them to discuss, and they agreed to give me till the end of the week to confirm the sale would go ahead – that’s a date 2 weeks ago today.
  • I forwarded them the signed LOI in confirmation of deal, and asked for the information required to get things rolling – this I passed onto the buyers. This conversation went till the middle of last week.
  • We had to re-jig our deal for technical reasons, which meant some re-work and a delay.
  • Monday night/Tuesday morning I received advice from the landlord via the agent that if the deal wasn’t done lock, stock and barrel by today they were pulling the pin on me. This is ridiculously small window of time – it took me 30 days to take possession after I agreed to buy – and especially so as my buyers work full time 6 days a week, their assets are in Thailand, and this is a complex arrangement.
  • Which brings us to now. The deal is agreed to, it just needs the different elements to be tidied up.

I’m hoping I have a reasonable case on the basis that I was extended time on the back of the S56, which has since been arbitrarily and unreasonably cut short. I have a buyer, but the actions of the landlord threaten the deal. I think the buyers might have a similar case to bring.

My fear is that the landlord may reject the application to buy, as is his right, out of bloody minded caprice.

The other day I compared this to a jail-break. Here I am tunnelling out, freedom finally within site, but the alarms going. Will I get free? I don’t know. I keep on thinking about the lyrics of Jailbreak:

Heartbeats they were racin’
Freedom he was chasin’
Spotlights, sirens, rifles firing
But he made it out…
With a bullet in his back

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