BISTRO REOPENS AMID RENT DISPUTE
RESTAURATEUR Alain Fabregues’ public protest against a 66 per cent rent increase hit boiling point last Tuesday when landlord Lepley Properties forced him to remove signs from his Hay Street restaurant’s windows.
Mr Fabregues said the only thing keeping a smile on his face was returning to Bistro des Artistes as head chef when the Subiaco restaurant reopens today.
“Of course I cannot afford to get out of my lease, so we need to keep going for another 23 months,” he said.
“The public response to my story has been beyond imagination.
“If you want to help, come and eat in the restaurant. What is happening to me is happening elsewhere in Subi- aco, the people responding may be the next ones.”
Mr Fabregues said landowner Barrie Lepley contacted him through lawyers last week to either remove the signs or face eviction.
He said Mr Lepley gave him until close of business last Wednesday to remove his freezer goods, dry store and restaurant equipment from an adjacent untenanted room before he changed the locks.
“Barrie offered me the room when we moved in three years ago because the space was too small to run a restaurant, and I have always paid the electricity there,” he said.
“I had to move all my belongings to my farm in Toodyay, and now I have no place for my cold storage.”
Ann Bradley, the general manager of Lepley Properties’ holding company Sanur, said Mr Lepley had a policy not to speak to the press.
Mr Fabregues said he believed his right to free speech had been compromised.
“They say I am not allowed signage without asking them first – but the problem is not me writing on the window, it is what I have written,” he said.
“I should be able to say my veal is from White Rocks, my lamb from Amelia Park and my rent from Lepley Properties.”
Alain Fabregues says he’s ready for business.