Cowen faces legal action over property

BRIAN COWEN was threatened with a highly embarrassing British legal action last night over claims a property consortium he is part of owes e110,000 in rents and fees.

Mr Cowen is among a group of 38 Irish speculators who invested in the leasehold of a hall of residence- style block in Leeds, Yorkshire, in 2005, valued at some e14m.

The freeholder, the Addestone Group, claims the apartments have since been sub-let to Leeds University without its consent, raising concerns about insurance.

The Newcastle-based company is seeking payment of ground rents and management fees from the Irish group believed to be more than e110,000.

Mr Cowen and his wife Mary gave their address on land registry documents regarding the property as 60 Merrion Square, Dublin, as did many other speculators.

Adderstone Group’s legal director Paul Hutton told the Irish Examiner: “We have been trying to resolve this matter for some time. Letters sent to the Merrion Square address have been returned saying ‘not known at this address’. It is interesting that there is someone in Dublin who doesn’t know who Mr Cowen is.”

Mr Hutton said the company would have no choice but to pursue matters through the courts if the issue was not settled quickly.

His company is concerned about insurance implications of the investors sub-letting the block to Leeds University, as well as the matter of ground rents and fees.

While the apartments were purchased as individual units, they form part of a single block, and are controlled under the name of the Carr Mills Partnership.

Adderstone said it wrote to Mr Cowen, and the other leaseholders telling them: “Contrary to the terms of your leases you have sub-let without authority to the University of Leeds.”

A legal statement issued on behalf of Mr Cowen and the other members of the Carr Mills Partnership by Lavelle Coleman solicitors said permission had been sought for the sub-letting in 2006, but the partnership was unaware a written consent licence was needed.

“The partnership takes its obligation to pay any lawful charges seriously. All ground rent has been paid up to date, however, Adderstone have declined to accept payment of the ground rent for the last 18 months pending final resolution of the consent issue,” the statement said.

The legal firm said it expected the matter to be settled amicably.

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