Chasing an ex-tenant for money owed on unpaid rent is challenging at the best of times, and so imagine the difficulty the owner of Romania’s former ambassador’s residence near Hyde Par in central London is having trying to persuade the country to stump up £75,000 outstanding in rent.
Romania is refusing to pay the rent to landlord Christopher Christos due to a “gentleman’s agreement” that they claim was reached with Dan Mihalache, ambassador of Romania to the UK.
The country’s diplomats have long argued that they were told by Christos they could end the tenancy six months early.
Christos sent Mihalache an order to quit the premises after Romania stopped paying rent in December 2018, but Mihalache stayed until the lease expired.
However, on 11 December 2019, the High Court ordered the Romanians to pay landlord Christopher Christos the final six months of a £12,000-a-month lease plus £3,660 in legal fees after he took the country’s UK embassy to court.
The property, located at 18 Hyde Park Street, served as the ambassador’s residence from April 2008 to April 2019 when the lease expired.
Christos, who acquired the property in 2007 for £2.8m, told the press: “They are giving me the runaround and think that because of diplomatic immunity they are untouchable.”
“I’ve got a mortgage to pay off,” he added.
A spokesman for the Romanian embassy told The Times: “Following this agreement, the owner was also notified in writing by the embassy of Romania about the termination of the contract with a grace period of three months.
“During this agreed period of three months the Romanian embassy continued to pay the rent for the respective property, as agreed with the owner.
“The landlord didn’t inform us about any changes in his position, so his decision to ignore the termination agreement and to claim breach of the contract came surprisingly.
“At the end of the three-month notification period, the Romanian Embassy vacated the space, the residence of the head of the mission being relocated.”
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