Pub closure sparks wrangle over Â£120,000 in future rent
A pub group has vowed to pursue the tenants of a South Tyneside boozer for Â£120,000 in future rent after they unexpectedly quit the business.
The White Lead pub in Jarrow is now closed after the married couple who took on the tenancy on a five-year lease in March declared themselves insolvent.
Bosses at Sonnet 43 Brew House, part of Sunderland-based Tavistock Hospitality, say they plan to act against David and Sean Husbands to reclaim potential losses.
The pub – previously known as Dougie’s Tavern, in Blackett Street – closed last Saturday.
The move is believed to have left several customers who had paid deposits on room hire for parties, out of pocket.
Jonathan Graham, operations director at Tavistock Hospitality, said: “We will pursue them for the money owed on the lease. They signed a five-year lease at £35,000 a year, and that is £120,000 outstanding.
“We will ask them for the money but I don’t imagine they have any to give. They informed us last Thursday to say they were insolvent, and they left the building last Saturday.”
He added: “It is a sad state of affairs and I have sympathy for anyone who has been left out of pocket.
“As a good will gesture, we have been contacted by a woman who had a christening booked and have offered her the use of our Italian Farmhouse venue in Roker.”
David Husbands said a £38,000 start-up loan had been spent within three weeks of opening the outlet, mainly on improving kitchen equipment.
He claimed Tavistock had made assurances that all equipment was in working order before they signed their contract.
Mr Graham insisted all kitchen equipment was up to standard and that the couple had been given six weeks’ free rent.
Mr Husbands said: “Our position at this time is that we are living with family and friends while our belongings are in storage and we are having to declare bankruptcy.
“Our financial situation is so dire, our phones have been cut off. Although we have managed to communicate with some and make further arrangements.
“Our priority is to urgently seek employment asap and a place to live. As soon as we are in employment and receiving an income, we will be arranging for deposits to be refunded.
He added: “Although we opened to a great reception in May 2018, we struggled to maintain a steady cashflow due to continuing maintenance issues.
“We fought to keep going with the future bookings in mind but the financial pressure was too great.
“Sadly we were left with no choice but to close permanently.”