KFC operators in Galway sue landlord over alleged lack of repairs

Rossa Fanning SC, for the defendant. said the dispute began in the pandemic in 2020 when MBCC began withholding rent
KFC operators in Galway sue landlord over alleged lack of repairs

Aodhan O Faolain

The operators of the KFC restaurant franchise are suing one of their landlords claiming there has been a failure to maintain and repair its drive-through premises in Galway city, the Commercial Court heard.

MBCC Foods (Ireland) Ltd, which operates 11 KFC restaurants, as well as Costa Coffee and Pizza Hut outlets, is suing Nun's Island Ltd, the St Hellier, Jersey-based landlord of the premises at Briarhill Shopping Centre, Ballybrit.

Nun's Island denies MBCC's claims.

The case was entered into the Commercial Court on Monday by Mr Justice Denis McDonald on the application of Rossa Fanning SC, for the defendant.

Mr Fanning said the dispute began in the pandemic in 2020 when MBCC began withholding rent. The action for breach of covenant of the lease, Mr Fanning said, has "no substance".

Jonathan Fitzgerald BL, for MBCC, said the entry application was on consent.

Maintenance

In its statement of claim, MBCC says, among other things, the defendant has failed to carry out repairs and maintenance, apart from what it says were some minor repairs and repainting.

Among the issues which were not addressed, it says, were extensive staining, lichen and moss growth to a concrete roof beam to the first-floor terrace of the building and extensive fungal and other vegetative growth in the joints of the external stone cladding of the building.

It also claims there is loose stonework to the external cladding which is both unsightly and potentially dangerous. There also is evidence of moisture ingress to the heads and reveals of the fire escape doors and bin store/service area door, it says.

The presence of these and other dilapidations continues to cause the building and its surrounding area to appear unsightly and unclean, it claims.

It also says as the only KFC in Galway city, it should have generated sales which were at least in line with, if not better, than its outlets in Little Island, Cork, and in Carlow.

As a result, it is claiming €1.27 million against the defendant for loss of profits which were quantified in May 2021. The figures took account of the fact the business was closed for two-and-half months in 2020 due to the national lockdown, it says.

Mr Justice McDonald approved directions for the hearing of the case and adjourned it to next March.

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