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  • Removal of unpaid signs, what would you do?

     David Rogers updated 1 year ago 15Members · 27 Posts
  • Martin Gray

    January 7, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    Hello, I supplied various composite signs to a leased pub last year and the tenant of the pub got a joiner to erect them,

    Now the lease holder hasn’t paid me and has left the pub, I have contacted the landlord/owner of the pub to see if he is willing to pay for the signs which he has told me no and if I remove the new signs I will have to erect the old ones, if i do not he will pursue me for thr costs I’ve no idea where they are and what kind of state they are in as I did not remove them.

    What would you think is the best way to proceed with this.

    English law might be different from scotish law.



  • David Hammond

    January 7, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    But you didn’t take them down did you? 😉 😉

  • Iain George

    January 7, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    I would just cut my losses on this one I am afraid. Unless you can prove that the tenant placed to order under instruction of the Landlord then you may have a way to recover the costs.

  • Iain Pearson

    January 7, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Unfortunately I’m with Iain on this one- if it’s a couple hundred quid, as frustrating as it is, I’d walk away and save myself the Hassall. Is it worth giving yourself sleepless nights over a weekends worth of beer and takeaways ?
    Draw a line under it mate, chalk it up to experience and next time, do pro forma/cash on completion

  • Phill Fenton

    January 7, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    He is bluffing

    Fill out the simple procedure claim form (details and download from here – … -procedure)

    Fill in the forms and mail them to him but do not yet lodge the forms as this will cost you a fee . Explain in your letter that you intend to lodge these with the court if the claim is not settled. Nine times out of ten this is enough to generate a payment and all it costs you is your time to fill in the forms.

    The Scottish court will almost certainly find in your favour so if he doesn’t settle go ahead and lodge the forms with the court though this will cost you a small fee but that can also be reclaimed as part of the claim. One of the great things about Scottish law is there is a great deal of commonsense involved. For example, do you know that if someone comes to collect a van you have signwritten you are entitled to hold onto the vehicle (effectively a ransom) until it is paid in full. This is called the garage law and was introduced to protect garage owners from unscrupulous customers that try to evade paying bills for repairs to their cars.

    If all else fails (and it probably wont) I would head out during the night with a ladder and remove the signs.

  • Denise Goodfellow

    January 7, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    How much does he owe?

    We went to see a solicitor about similar stuff. Once he laid out his costs it was obvious to let it go, even though it hurt our pride.

    The trick is to get paid or a big deposit first or on delivery. Things like this reform company policy of deposit or full payment before commencing work.

    A 30 min meeting with a solicitor might shed some light on it better

  • Martin Gray

    January 7, 2020 at 5:04 pm

    Thanks for your replys total cost is just over a grand. I’ve spoken with a solicitor and it’s very muddy water. As thr landlord has said I can remove them as long as I erect the old signage which could be in a million bits in a skip by now!

  • Iain George

    January 7, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    Removing the signs will not get you payment as the tenant has gone and is obviously not going to be bothered about them being removed. I would assume the Landlord must have the tenants details so you could persue them individual through the courts.

  • Phill Fenton

    January 7, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    I would urge you again to follow the simple claims procedure as described earlier. The landlord is reaping the benefit of the new signs you have provided – at the very least he should be made to return these to you as they remain your property. A judge will rule in your favour (if it comes to court) – the simple lodging of the claim will be enough to resolve this in your favour. Trust me 😉

  • Phill Fenton

    January 7, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    And by the way – you don’t need a solicitor and the associated expense to pursue this in Scotland. I have gone down this route a couple of times in the last few years and won every time.

  • Iain George

    January 7, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Why would you want the signs back? They are worthless unless you can reuse them elsewhere. Does the Landlord want them? Maybe you could come to an agreement to cover the materials and take a hit on the profit.

    I am not sure how taking the Landlord to court will get payment as it was nothing to do with him, it was his tenant who placed the order. Or are you saying to take the Landlord to court just to remove the signs?

  • Hugh Potter

    January 7, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    I can see where both sides are coming from.

    It’s no more the landlords responsibility to pay for the job than yours to reinstate the old signs…- cant really see how he can be taken to court for something he didn’t order or you for something you didn’t take down – maybe the old signs are under the new – how many times have we seen that? Carpenter realises the facia is rot through lack of maintenance, landlord won’t fix because it’s now tenants issue on repairing lease, tenant won’t out of principle so just fixes over old!

    ‘IF’ you can re-use the panels then I’d just tell him that you are the legal owner until paid and will take them back to recycle on another job.

    ‘IF’ he wants to come to an arrangement on the signs then you’ll do a discounted price to save you the hassle or removal and to cover your costs (you can make the costs higher of course but still a healthy discount on original), if he wants the old signs then that’s down to him to pursue the tenant, who has probably gone bankrupt anyway.

    It sucks having to take a hit like this but sometimes something in the bank is better than a loss.

  • David Hammond

    January 7, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    I’d take the f’in things down out of principle – The landlord will rent the pub out and the new tenant will enjoy the benefit of new signage.

    Don’t give them warning, remove them and send something along the lines of this, you’re not stealing them, you’re securing an asset of yours that hasn’t been paid for. I can’t see how you can be held responsible if it was supply only.


    With regard to the signage installed at XYZ address, whilst I appreciate that the signage was ordered by the previous tenant, the bill remains unpaid, as a result the signage remains property of XZY until FULL payment has been received, in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale agreed with the former tenant.

    Understandably the signage holds little resale value, as they were custom manufactured specifically for the building, and to the previous tenants specification.

    I have today attended site and removed our the signage from the premises for safe keeping until the matter is resolved.. I am willing to resolve the matter, as a gesture of goodwill will return the signs back to premises for self installation for £xxx, covering costs incurred.

    Regarding your claims to re erect the previous signage. As a supply only contract was established between us and the previous tenant we were in no position to establish if the leaseholder had the necessary permission or authority to remove the existing signage. I would therefore direct any questions regarding the location of the original signage to the former tenant and their chosen contractor.

  • Martin Gray

    January 7, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    It’s new composite trays erected so the old sign are definitely removed.

    I can see the landlord side doesnt want to spend anymore money as he has told me he didnt get paid for the last 6 months. If I remove the new signs the pub/hotel wont have any signage and be less likely to get new tenants. Hence why he wants me to erect the old signs.

    Great start to the new year! Lol

  • Simon Worrall

    January 7, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Yup you could remove them on principle, to "Teach somebody a lesson"
    but you are incurring extra expense at no gain, and to be honest people don’t learn lessons, they just get resentful.
    AND you are punishing the wrong people.
    Then you have to dump them, or store them on the off chance somebody will want something that size that you can clean up and re-wrap.

    Do what Phill says, send the letter with the forms, but I would cut my losses – for a grand its not worth your while.
    Use your time doing useful stuff.
    Chalk it up to experience Bud.

  • Phill Fenton

    January 7, 2020 at 8:47 pm
    quote Iain George:

    Why would you want the signs back? They are worthless unless you can reuse them elsewhere. Does the Landlord want them? Maybe you could come to an agreement to cover the materials and take a hit on the profit.

    I am not sure how taking the Landlord to court will get payment as it was nothing to do with him, it was his tenant who placed the order. Or are you saying to take the Landlord to court just to remove the signs?

    Like I said earlier – I believe the "landlord" is bluffing. He gets the benefit of new signs without having to pay for them. It will cost nothing to raise an action against him. It’s up to him to then defend his case. If he fails to do so the court will automatically rule in your favour.

    He is saying to you you can have the signs back but only under condition you re-instate the old ones. Clearly you can’t do that as it was never your responsibility in the first place. Hence my suggestion you call his bluff and raise an action against him as he is now the beneficiary of the signs you have produced in good faith. It will cost you nothing to try this (just half an hour or so of your time). I suspect there may be some jiggery pockery going on behind the scenes. If there isn’t, and the "Landlord" himself is a victim of his tennant’s action ( :rollseyes: ), then he has inadvertantly benefitted from your work so clearly has a responsability to provide some form of re-dress. That’s my take on it anyway, and that’s what I would do. Just do it without the help of a solicitor as this would involve unecessary expense and for the sum involved it isn’t worth engaging one. This is why we have the simple claims procedure in Scotland. … -procedure

  • David Hammond

    January 7, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    You could try and offer a settlement to cover the cost, and he keeps the signs, and gets the benefit, or if he doesn’t pay then remove them.

    Trouble is, he’s forewarned, and might just remove them out of spite. (Had that happen in the past)

    Two options, take them down, and dig your heels in, he’ll need to instigate legal proceedings at his expense, and you’re in the stronger position… plus your contract wasn’t with him, but with the tenant.

    Or write it off, chalk it up to experience… and don’t let it happen again!

  • Robert Lambie

    January 8, 2020 at 6:26 am

    Paddy wants to buy a new BMW but cannot afford the deposit.
    Paddy asks his girlfriend to sell her old Ford Fiesta to raise £500 towards the deposit, she agrees.
    Paddy and his girlfriend enjoy long drives in the summer nights… up until they break up!
    Paddy is gone, his girlfriend still has the car but Paddy has stopped making the payments.
    A truck pulls up at the house to repossess the car from Paddy’s girlfriend.
    As it is lifted onto the back of the truck, paddys girlfriend runs out screaming, "you cannot take that, I own it until you bring back my old Ford Fiesta. because I have no way of getting to work now!"

    :shake: 😆


    Your customer was the tenant, not the landlord.
    The tenant had authorisation from the landlord to remove the old signs and replace with new.
    The signs were taken down and disposed of, at no point were you or whoever instructed to put them into storage for later use.
    The tenant has now bolted.
    As a result, both you and the landlord are out of pocket and left to cut your losses.
    The sign was not paid for and you are entitled to remove it.
    The landlord does not now take ownership of the sign, by default.

    Maybe just me, but I would take the sign back down. It is up to the Landlord to pursue the debt from "his customer", the tenant!

    What may be the best option all round is…
    Make it clear you are taking the sign down and he is welcome to pursue you for the costs or whatever he is threatening. but as a compromise… for a heavily discounted fee "up-front" you will take the lettering off the sign face and put vinyl letters up with the old name he had prior.
    This way, he has a brand new sign with the original name. which will make his job leasing out the building much easier in future. if not, he will be left with a bare dirty wall where the old signs used to me.
    Do you get your money? no, but you will get some of it and that’s better than some used panels that will have to be cut down and stripped to be used on some other job.

    failing that, I would take the option Phill has suggested.

  • Hugh Potter

    January 8, 2020 at 9:33 am
    quote Martin Gray:

    It’s new composite trays erected so the old sign are definitely removed.

    You can always re-use trays, I sold a 2 pc 4.8 x .9m tray three times! The original shop (who went bust and asked me to take it down), then a start up on an industrial estate who later went bigger, then to another showroom in a nearby unit, the latter two were wrapped so easy to cover and re-use!

  • Colin Crabb

    January 8, 2020 at 11:38 am

    We’ve turned up with ladders before and the bill has been paid on the spot :smiles:

  • Pane Talev

    January 8, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    "All goods remain the property of "ABC SIGNS" until the invoice is paid in full"

    Will things be different with this sentence on this on the invoice ?

  • Paul Hodges

    January 8, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    There is a question of time and expense, and a question of principle.

    Someone is benefitting from those new signs whether it’s landlord or new tenant. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t order them, you’ve done the work and still own the goods.

    I wouldn’t go to court on this one, purely because it’s muddy. You are not taking the guy to court who hasn’t paid, you’re trying to get payment from someone who quite likes the idea that your signs are in place, but isn’t responsible for paying for them. Getting a ruling in your favour is one thing, getting payment is quite another, so you could end up chasing your tail there and spending more money pursuing it.

    In my experience it’s far better to remove the signs because while someone is benefitting from that, they have something to lose if you take them back, therefore you’re more likely to come to a deal and even if you don’t, sure you might not be able to use the signs again but why should they have them for free?

    He can’t really pursue you for the old signs, that’s nothing to do with you, this is why in my view, if you give prior warning of taking the signs back, he may try to sort it out with you. Let’s face it, if you take them back, someone will have the expense of ordering a new sign so what would be the point in not sorting it out with you?

  • David Hammond

    January 8, 2020 at 1:00 pm
    quote Pane Talev:

    “All goods remain the property of “ABC SIGNS” until the invoice is paid in full”

    Will things be different with this sentence on this on the invoice ?

    A well written Force Majeure clause is a powerful thing. That said, if they’re not paid for, they’re yours and I don’t see how any judge would argue against that.

    If you rock up and start removing them, it’s a civil matter, and Police will more than gladly walk away

  • Pane Talev

    January 8, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    I simply go mad when I need to chaise the money I’ve made with hard work.
    Last week I went to remove a wall wrap. Client did not pay since October.
    Half of my family and friends where saying that what I’m doing might get me into trouble?
    I’m not the non – payer!
    I shall not be ashamed.
    Non-paying client needs to be ashamed and in trouble.
    What a mess of judgment on a society level!
    I just want my sticker back. Doesn’t matter the fact that the stickler will go in the bin. (luckily she paid when I turned up)
    I’m fully aware that with that trip to her studio I’ve wasted money / time, but I did not want her to have free wall wrap.

    I’m thinking of having this on my invoice:
    All goods remain the property of "ABC SIGNS" until the invoice is paid in full. We reserve the right to remove items that are not paid for…"

    Arrive there with a team with step ladders and get paid!

  • Kevin Mahoney

    January 8, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    A hefty deposit would be a safer option in most cases. Far less painful than losing the lot to a rogue punter, at least your time & materials are covered. Then if you end up having to remove & can salvage some material that’s a bonus.

  • Myriam Garrido

    January 8, 2020 at 6:27 pm

    Book a table and take 10 family members and have a great big blow out meal. When you’re presented with the bill say it was booked with the previous owners and paid for in advance and walk out !

    (probably not the most practical advice but would be lovely to do)

  • David Rogers

    January 10, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Been here a few times over the years.

    Sometimes you rock up and remove them, or threaten to but not much use in this instance.

    Your ONLY (legitimate) recourse is to pursue it through small claims.

    Contract was with the tenant.
    Landlord now has possession of the goods.
    Goods are ‘on’ the property so removal is technically defacement of property…Police not interested as it’s a civil not a criminal matter.
    Needs to go to the courts for £75(?) against the original client – but add in within the petition that the landlord is holding your unpaid goods and service and you might get an adjudication that allows for the recovery of your goods / or judgement against the tenant or landlord.

    Or if you can take the hit (we just has to swallow £3k out of a £6.5k bill in November that the private individual will NEVER manage to repay as he’s due about £50k elsewhere…ouch) move on – it’ll eat you up chasing them. You could spend £100’s and 20 hours on just one appearance to get back £300 worth of materials lost that are no use to anybody. Move the satisfaction of winning to one side…do the numbers on what your TOTAL loss in time & money will be to gain some materials back that will sit in the yard for years to come.

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