ONE of Southsea’s longest running book shops appears to have been dealt a hammer blow after being told to cough up more money despite an already ‘impossible’ rent hike.
As reported by The News earlier this month, Adelphi Books owner Robert Smith announced he would be closing his popular shop unless potential buyers firmed up their interest.
The 62-year-old revealed the ‘unfair’ situation has become ‘unmanageable’ after he was subjected to a rent increase from £5,250 to £7,500 a year, with an interim payment of £6,500 for the first year, by property agency Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell.
The hike left Robert, who has been running the Albert Road shop for nearly 33 years, facing the reality he could no longer afford the shop - sparking a wind down sale ahead of the lease expiration in January.
But now the shop owner has been hit by another blow after Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell wrote a letter telling him the new rent would be £10,000 a year if he stays before adding that he must pay for repairs before leaving.
Robert said: ‘I'm obviously worried and alarmed both at the tone of the letter and the haste with which they seem to want to get rid of me after nearly 33 years, as well as trying to squeeze more money out of me.
‘The last rise meant I couldn't afford any necessary repairs.
‘I would have thought the first year of a lease extension would be at the £7,500 rent.’
Robert also claimed the firm ‘disregarded’ his reference of potential assistance from the University of Portsmouth.
Stuart Mitchell, partner of Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell, wrote in his letter to the shop owner: ‘Without prejudice to our further review of the market value, we have recently let the property immediately next door to you and therefore we have a well-established rent level for this location.’
The letter continued: ‘We would be looking at a rent of £10,000 per annum on a new lease, to you or an incoming new tenant.
‘I have instructed a building surveyor to undertake an inspection and provide a schedule of dilapidations which will be served on you in due course.’