Landlord locks business owner out of shop for not paying rent
PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:21 18 October 2018
A Norwich supermarket owner whose store has been without power for eight months has now been locked out.
Abul Hussain said his landlord changed the locks to Desh World Foods Supermarket in August after he fell behind on rent.
The 45-year-old businessman is now taking legal action to regain access to his store on Magdalen Street.
“I have been closed since February but I have been trying my best to keep paying my rent on time,” Mr Hussain said.
“I’m now eight weeks behind on rent, but that is because I am not trading.”
It is the latest setback for Mr Hussain, who was forced to close the supermarket earlier this year after his power was cut off.
He has since lost thousands of pounds in earnings and still has around £70,000 worth of items gathering dust inside the store.
UK Power Networks said it had been trying to restore his electricity since April.
But in order for the work to be carried out, the company needs permission to access Anglia Square’s service yard from landowner Columbia Threadneedle.
His landlord Tony Matless said he is owed around £20,000 by Mr Hussain.
But Mr Hussain claims the figure is much lower.
“If you are renting off someone you have to pay rent,” Mr Matless said.
“How long can a landlord let you get away with it? I am not trying to sound harsh, but that is a fact.
“He was on time for ages, but then he went three weeks, and then four weeks and then five weeks without paying.”
Mr Hussain said he was confident he will be able to get his business up and running again.
But even if he regains access to his supermarket, he will still be without electricity.
His power was initially cut off in December 2017 when he attempted to change his electricity provider from National Gas and Power.
Mr Hussain disputed the figure and was unable to pay the full amount immediately.
As a result, he said the company came into his supermarket days later and cut off his supply.
Mr Hussain was initially told work to reconnect his electricity would not be allowed as it could impact Anglia Square’s redevelopment.
But Columbia Threadneedle later confirmed it would grant access through its land, subject to conditions being met.