The freeholder didn't sign the commercial lease...

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    The freeholder didn't sign the commercial lease...

    Hi, I am seeking a bit of advice. My dad had an empty shop and someone I knew offered to rent it, we let them use the shop and they applied for a licence and asked me to sign a lease they had made, i signed it because i thought would help them and would help us get payment. I am not the freeholder or and they never met my dad. this was in February 2019 and they never paid any rent and left around June/July 2019. It has now come to our attention they have claimed for the small business rates grant issued by councils and they have received the monies even though they were never the business rates payer.

    Is the lease void if was never signed by the freeholder/owner ??


    To claim the grant you would have to provide information from the business rates demand letter for that premises, i.e name, account number, unique payer ref number, etc. Who was receiving these periodic demands? How do you know this person received the £10k grant?

    If you/your father stopped receiving the bills a while ago, that should have alerted you that the tenant had likely informed the council to be listed as ratepayer and was having the letters sent to them instead.

    Your father could alert the council that:
    1. Said 'tenant' had not signed a valid lease with the landlord and
    2. They already vacated the property back in July 2019.

    It might cause problems for them with the council (although most council's imho prefer to hide their mistakes rather than face up to them) however I doubt it would mean the council can assign the grant payment to your father unless you have evidence that your father subsequently occupied the shop until the lockdown in March.
    Your father could ask the tenant to split the grant and pay him £5000 within 28 days, otherwise you'd alert the council that he has obtained the grant fraudulently. But someone else on here will likely say that's blackmail and not to do anything but just suck it up


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