Tuesday 11 October 2022
Second Appeal. By Appellant’s Notice filed 7 January 2022, the appellants appeal the Order of Cadwallader J (High Court, Chancery Division) dated 20 December 2021, which dismissed the Petitioners’ appeal, lifted the stay imposed by paragraph 2 of the Order of Mr Justice Snowden dated 18 June 2021, ordered Ps to pay costs.
Factual background: The respondent company (“the Company”) operates a franchise of Hunters estate agents. The petitioners own four properties in Wallasey, Merseyside (“the Properties”), which they let to tenants. In or about 2009 the company and the petitioners agreed that the company should collect the rents for the properties and pay them (after deductions) to the Petitioners. From about 2013 the Company started paying most, but not all, of the rent which it collected in respect of the properties into a bank account. On 13 March 2020, 7 years later, the First Petitioner told the Company that this account was wholly unknown to her and complained on 26 June 2020 that the petitioners had not received rental payments for the period 2014 to 2019 in the total sum of over £60,000. On 27th of August 2020 solicitors instructed on behalf of the petitioners wrote to the Company asserting that at least £65,442.55 was owed for unpaid rent and that if an immediate payment of £50,000 were not made within 7 days a winding up petition would be presented. The Company denied liability, and the petition was presented. In summary, the Company says the petitioners must have instructed the company to start making payments to the Barclays account otherwise it would not have done it; and on that footing, the debt is disputed. The Petitioners presented a winding up petition against the Company on 5 October 2020 but this was dismissed by District Judge Richmond on the ground that the Court found that it was not likely that it would be able to make an order under section 122(1)(f) of the Insolvency Act 1986 having regard to the ‘coronavirus test’ (as set out in Schedule 10, Part 2 s.5(3) f the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020″. The Petitioners appealed against this decision before Cadwallader J.