Physical gym owner fights back in row over unpaid rent

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 February, 2004, 12:00am

Company disputes amount of debt and says business has been tumbling

The Physical gym is baffled by its Central branch landlord's recent legal action to force it out of its premises for not paying overdue rent, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

'We owe them two to three months' rent, not six as they've claimed. We have been talking with them [the landlord] in the last two or three months. We don't understand why they've taken such an action,' she said.

'The Liu Chong Hing Bank building next door is undergoing refurbishment and is making lots of noise.

'Our branch in Central is not a gym but a beauty parlour. When clients come for their beauty treatments, they want a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. We cannot operate with so much noise coming from the building works next door.'

The spokeswoman said business had plunged because of the noise in the past two to three months, and Physical had been trying to claim compensation from the Chinachem Group for the disruption.

But the landlord had not responded to their complaints and the company had been forced to take the step of not paying rent.

The landlord - Grand Marseille Enterprises, a Chinachem company - on Wednesday filed a High Court writ to try to force Physical Beauty Centre (Central) out of its Des Voeux Road premises, saying the health and beauty operation owes more than $7 million in rent, maintenance and management fees, including $2.1 million in interest.

'By reason of the breach of the tenancy agreement by Physical, Grand Marseille has suffered losses and damages,' the writ says.

The writ also says the company breached the tenancy agreement when it attached a huge metal advertising sign on the external wall of the building.

But the Physical spokeswoman said the firm had sought permission from the landlord before placing the sign on the building.

Chinachem would not comment yesterday because the case had been passed on to the company's lawyers.