Rent hard to swal­low

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By ROSANNA CAN­DLER

SU­BI­ACO restau­ra­teur Alain Fabregues is up in arms, say­ing his land­lord has in­creased the rent by 66 per cent.

The Bistro des Artists owner painted the mes­sage: ‘Su­bi­aco is not Paris or London – $1000 per square me­tre is un­ac­cept­able’ on his Hay Street restau­rant’s win­dows last Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Mr Fabregues said his land­lord Lepley Prop­er­ties no­ti­fied him last month that his yearly rent would in­crease by about $90,000 as of Fe­bru­ary 1.

Mr Fabregues said he told Barry Lepley that he would not move into new Sed­don Street premises owned by the land­lord be­cause they had been de­layed.

He said there were two years left on his five-year lease, so he was in a bind.

Ann Bradley, the gen­eral man­ager of Lepley Prop­er­ties’ hold­ing company Sa­nur, said Mr Lepley de­clined to com­ment.

THE for­mer owner of award­win­ning restau­rant The Loose Box and one of WA’s most dec­o­rated chefs, Alain Fabregues, says he is fight­ing a David and Go­liath bat­tle against his Su­bi­aco land­lord.

Mr Fabregues said he agreed with the prop­erty owner Bar­rie Lepley to move into the Hay Street prop­erty in 2012.

“At the time I agreed with Bar­rie that, when his new build­ing was fin­ished in two years, I would run a wine bar, maybe a bistro and patis­serie on the ground floor,” he said.

“We are three years down the road and the build­ing has not even started. So six months ago I said to him: ‘I am not go­ing to take your of­fer be­cause I am 66 years old, I can­not wait for­ever’.”

Mr Fabregues said his rent had now been in­creased.

The Metro West Joint De­vel­op­ment As­sess­ment Panel ap­proved Mr Lepley’s eight-storey build­ing at 1 Sed­don Street and 424-436 Hay Street in April, 2014.

Sa­nur gen­eral man­ager Ann Bradley said Mr Lepley had a pol­icy not to speak to the press.

Mr Fabregues said he de­cided to pub­li­cise his rent in­crease on the restau­rant win­dows be­cause the power of pub­lic opin­ion was the only card he had left to play.

He said high le­gal costs meant a nor­mal per­son could not fight the dis­pute.

“There are peo­ple walk­ing past and they are shocked, they can­not be­lieve it. I am hop­ing that ex­pos­ing this will make a dif­fer­ence,” he said.

Mr Fabregues said pay­ing more than $600 per square me­tre was un­heard of in Su­bi­aco.

“Can you imag­ine the peo­ple that have to sell their houses, all their be­long­ings, just to pay their lease so they can move away from this place?” he said.

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme

Alain Fabregues’ yearly rent has in­creased by about $90,000. In­set: An artist’s im­pres­sion of the Sed­don Street de­vel­op­ment.

Pic­ture: Mar­cus Whisson d431420

Bistro des Artistes owner Alain Fabregues has put his protest over a rent in­crease on the win­dows of his restau­rant.

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