Marks & Spencer is fighting the landlord of its Paddington head office for a £1.1m over-payment of rent, according to The Sunday Telegraph.
The retailer is reported to have issued a writ against BNP Paribas Securities Services, part of the French banking group, for £1.1m in rent over-payment, car-parking fees, service charges and insurance rent.
The Sunday Telegraph said the retailer has hired Guy Fetherstonhaugh QC, a noted commercial property lawyer, to lead the claim.
M&S moved to its Waterside House office complex in September 2004 from its former headquarters at 55 Baker Street, where it had been based for 47 years. The claim centres on the use of overflow space at The Point in Paddington Basin. M&S rented four floors in the building in 2006, originally from mobile phone operator Orange, but has since moved out of the space.
In 2006, it signed leases of £3.18m that ran through until February 2018 but in 2009, three years after BNP Paraibas became landlord, M&S agreed to changes to the lease in agreement with the bank. The changes included a rent increase – to £4.6m annually - and an option to end the lease in January 2012.
M&S claims that it paid rent and other fees after the leases ended and, according to the newspaper, alleges a failure of consideration for the overpayment.