Old Mart business premises row boils over

The owner of the Old Mart Business Park in Laurencekirk is considering legal action against former tenants after, he claims, they “trashed” one of his business units before leaving.

Robert Fyfe, who owns Old Mart Services Ltd who lease the units in the complex and also farms at nearby East Blackiemuir, admits to having had a series of exchanges with the owners of D&S Pet Supplies over the last six months.

He says that the owners of D&S Pet Supplies, David and Sylvia Ravenshear, have been his tenants for eight years, first in unit seven at the Old Mart and latterly in unit four.

Mr Fyfe said: “The problems began in December. The owners put their pet supplies business on the market and found a buyer, but they just expected me to accept that person as my tenant and I was not prepared to do that.”

Mr Fyfe alleges that the Ravenshears have not paid for electric since September and have not paid any rent since the end of April.

“On February 24 I gave them a month’s notice to quit. They said that was too soon, so I said they could stay until the end of April.

“They continued to trade right up until Monday of this week.”

Mr Fyfe admits that he dumped a load of materials at the door of the premises at the beginning of May and also that he cut off the electricity supply on June 9.

On Saturday afternoon he parked an old library van across the entrance to the premises and admits this was another measure designed to force his tenants to leave.

The tenants have now left, but Mr Fyfe says they have “trashed the place” before doing so, including tearing down partitions, breaking windows and knocking one window out of the wall. They also left tyres, pallets and other material lying around.

Mr Fyfe understands that another individual has now bought the assets of the business and is trading elsewhere in Laurencekirk.

The owner of the business park denies that he has another tenant lined up for the unit and says it is likely to remain closed once he has made it safe.

Mr Fyfe alleges that his former tenants owe him £4,000 in rent and £156 for electricity. He plans to consult a solicitor in an effort to get this money as well as the cost of the damage at the unit.

The police were called and helped Mr Fyfe gain entry to his premises. He says he has now been told by them that the Procurator Fiscal will not take any action in this case, because he had no written agreement that the tenants had to leave the premises in good order.

Mr Fyfe says that the erection of the partitions etc was paid for jointly by himself and the tenants and he claims that he paid for the majority of the materials.

The owner of the estate says that he has an excellent relationship with all his other tenants. “I have no problem with them and they have no problem with me.”

Mr Fyfe has had the complex on the market for three years, but has been unable to find a buyer.