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Letters to March 28, 2009

The latest letters from Drapers’ readers

Lease liability - be aware and be prepared

The ‘Retailers see bright side of empty shops’ article (News Analysis, Drapers, March 14) touched on the potential liability which some former retail tenants and guarantors face in the current recession but did not adequately reflect the nightmare of even a successful business being hit by unforeseen liability.
Tenants sometimes assume that because they transferred their lease with the landlord’s consent their liability has ceased. This is not the case.

The extent of the liability depends when the lease was granted. If it was after January 1 1996, their exposure is limited in time until the party to whom they have assigned the lease transfers it to another party. But a tenant or guarantor of a current lease granted before January 1 2006 can potentially be liable for all sums due (not just rent) until that lease expires.

There are strategies to limit exposure and defend against a landlord’s claim. You can ask them to grant an over-riding lease so you have control of the property. However, with a dearth of retail property on the market this is not an easy option.

Such strategies should be explored before blindly accepting your situation. Consider all potential liability including past leases that have not yet expired and be prepared.
Elizabeth Ruff, partner, Fox Williams, London


Inspired by time with Kottler

I was thrilled to read your article on Richard Kottler (This Fashion Life, Drapers, February 28).

Many years ago I trained as a pattern cutter/designer at Viyella, where Richard Kottler was the director of womenswear.

It was pleasing to read that Mary Quant is Richard’s fashion icon so many years later, because I remember the ranges produced by Viyella and Mary Quant under Richard’s directorship.

As I remember, all members of staff had great respect for Richard Kottler. He was a strong leader with good humour yet retained great sensitivity.

I’m now in my 50th year and currently work as a pattern cutter. It has to be said that standards set in those early days still have a great influence on any work I do.
It was inspiring to read just how much Richard Kottler has achieved. I wish him all the very best as chief executive of the British Footwear Association.
Lesley Atkinson (née Dring), Derby



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