Our protagonist, OP, works for a bustling leisure company. Picture soft play, indoor soccer, laser tag – the works. Things were sailing smoothly until lease renewal negotiations for one of their parks became complicated by unresponsive landlords.
They Were Given Seven Days to Leave the Premises
2020 took a turn for the worst, and like all businesses, OP’s sites were forced to close. The lease renewal negotiations became a lesser priority.
Who would push for an eviction amidst a pandemic? Especially since the landlords were still receiving rent despite the closure. Turns out, they were mistaken.
Out of the blue, OP’s company received an eviction notice.
They were given seven days to leave the premises and remove all their belongings, with the stark reminder that any items left behind would become the property of the landlord.
They Saw the Plot Thicken
Dismantling and moving the company’s equipment during lockdown, with limited staff and business closures, was a monumental challenge. Losing a profitable site and all its assets was a major setback, but the plot thickened.
A few days into the eviction, OP discovered the landlord was not just offering their park to competitors but was selling it fully equipped, a turnkey solution just needing a rebrand.
The landlord was trying to make a quick profit from the installed equipment, assuming the company wouldn’t be able to empty the park in time. Anger was an understatement for what OP felt.
Given seven days to evacuate, OP and his team decided to do just that.
The Landlord Was Trying to Make a Quick Buck
Local businesses offered free storage space, and staff returned to spend the week removing, selling, or destroying everything related to the company. Not even light fittings were spared.
Unlike past site vacating instances where things were left intact due to difficulty in removal, OP ensured nothing recognizable was left in this building.
They ripped up floors, tore down walls, dismantled offices, and took away all artwork and lockers.
The landlord was left with no deals, a large renovation bill, and at least four more weeks without rent due to the lockdown extension. His potential buyers were nowhere in sight.
But There Was a Very Silver Lining
Despite these trials, there was a silver lining. The assets they managed to save – fridges, TVs, equipment, food, tables – were all sold. The lack of rent and additional income actually helped the business and covered staff wages.
Finally, they handed in the keys. The landlord, not keen on conversing, said nothing about the lack of equipment.
There were hitches in getting back deposits, but with the building in excellent condition and the site cleaned up, the landlord had no ground to hold them.
He Had Egg On His Face and a Very Empty Building
A minor push from the legal team ensured they received everything back in full.
As of now, the building remains vacant and no potential buyers have come forth. Despite the pandemic and its associated challenges, OP’s company stands strong, and the staff remain employed and doing well.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Pressmaster. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.