Bad News for Bewley's in the Supreme Court
Published on Jul 1 2014 12:12 PM in Restaurant
Johnny Ronan's company Ickendel Ltd. has won its Supreme Court Appeal against Bewley's. The appeal was taken against a High Court Ruling that the rent for Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street in Dublin must be allowed fall to reflect market rates.
Bewley's and Ickendel signed a lease in 1987 which allowed for rent reviews every five years. Bewley's rent doubled to €1.46 million at its last rent review in January 2007. They brought the case against Ickendel as they argued that this doubling reflected the peak of the "unsustainable property bubble". The rent was double the market rent set in January 2012.
Bewley's won their High Court Case in March 2013, but in a unanimous decision today, the five judge court allowed Ickendel's appeal against the High Court decision. The Supreme Court had to consider what the terms of the lease construed. They held that the terms meant that rents cannot fall, as the parties did not bargain for a rent revision arrangement based on a market rate that can rise and fall in respect of different review periods, regardless of the fact that this was not explicitly stated in the lease. The court added that the judgment was case specific and did not involve an issue of general application.
This now means that Bewley's must continue to pay €1.46 million rent per year up to 2017 to Ickendel, which is part of the Treasury Holdings Group and had its loans transferred to NAMA. Bewley's said they were immensely disappointed with the outcome.