A British private school which has been struggling to find a site for a permanent campus in Hong Kong is facing eviction from a shop it leases and a lawsuit over HK$110,000 (US$14,100) in unpaid rent, according to a court document made available on Friday.
Property agent Fidelity Realty filed the claim at the High Court, saying Mount Kelly, which arrived in the city two years ago, had failed to pay two months of rent for a shop at Austin Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui.
But a statement from the school dismissed any concerns, saying the monetary dispute stemmed from a misunderstanding between the agent and the landlord.
It said the landlord, which assigned the agent to manage the shop, had since agreed to withdraw the case after discussions with the school.
The premises, shop No 1 on the upper ground floor of the tower's phase II wing, is used as a school office, not as a classroom, according to the statement.
The school also rents part of the second floor of Austin Tower.
The court document said Mount Kelly had not paid its rent for February and March, despite three written requests from the agent's lawyers.
"The plaintiff claims against (Mount Kelly) for vacant possession of the said premises," it said, also naming school governor Martin Wong Chung as a defendant.
The agent is seeking to claim the outstanding rent from both the school's company, Mount Kelly International, and Wong.
But the school's statement said it had never received the requests the court document mentioned. "In relation to the rental dispute, it arises from a miscommunication by the agent," it added.
Since announcing plans in 2016 to open a school in Hong Kong, the Devon, England-based school has hit one stumbling block after another trying to find a base.
The Town Planing Board rejected its application to use a site in Tuen Mun for a campus because of zoning issues.
The school later turned to the Cheung Kei Centre in Hung Hom to open a temporary campus for its primary school arm, so it could renovate the Austin Tower premises for expansion. But the Hung Hom plan was called off in September 2017 after the Town Planing Board, again, refused its proposal.
The school has sections from nursery to part of secondary school.
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