Popular Hong Kong glamping company faces eviction over breach of contract
Landlord claims Mingle Farm erected structures and filled land without permission, breaching terms of tenancy agreement and government lease
The inflatable cabins and giant bubble rooms that drew Hongkongers to a popular luxury camping site in Yuen Long may have to come down, with the business facing eviction due to legal action from the landowner.
Landlord Tang Chi-kong said his tenant Mingle Farm had erected structures and filled the land without first getting permission from him and the government, and ignored warnings to rectify such breaches of the tenancy agreement and government lease.
He also accused the company of occupying three other lots of land despite the tenancy having expired on May 31, 2016.
“Unless restrained by the court, the defendant will continue to breach the tenancy agreement and continue to cause the plaintiff to commit a breach of the Town Planning Ordinance, which amounts to an offence,” Tang said in his writ to the High Court last Friday. “The plaintiff hereby exercises the right to forfeit the tenancy by the issuance and service of writ in these proceedings.”
Mingle Farm offers a mix of accommodation types across its 200,000 sq ft site: from fun inflatable cabins and a bubblelike “eco-sphere” to caravans and luxury tents with regular beds, air conditioning and heating.
The operator was twice prosecuted last year on suspicion of running unlicensed guest houses. But two magistrates in Tuen Mun and Tsuen Wan returned different verdicts in the space of two weeks. The company is now awaiting results on its appeal.
According to documents filed to the court, Tang said the company had agreed to use the land in accordance with the tenancy agreement and to comply with the government lease and all relevant laws and regulations. Such terms include using the land for lawful purposes and obtaining consent from the Town Planning Board or the Town Planning Department for any change in purpose.
But Tang said the company had breached the contract and ignored warning letters from the District Land Office in Yuen Long to remove the unauthorised structures.
The landlord is now demanding vacant possession of these lands, an indemnity for all losses and damages he suffered, and a mandatory injunction for the company to demolish all unauthorised structures.
He is also seeking profits gained by the company from the date the contract is terminated to the time the premises are vacated.