Roy Morgan wins legal fight after being locked out of Melbourne offices at weekend

roy-morgan-logoOne of Australia’s leading polling and audience measurement companies Roy Morgan was locked out of its offices over the weekend amidst a rental dispute with its landlord Impact Investment Group (IIG).

However a court has this morning found in favour of Roy Morgan with a judge ruling that it should be let back into the office and criticising the landlord for going ahead with the lock out without the permission of the court.

Over the weekend the company had claimed the lockout had been done illegally, issuing a statement claiming it has withheld $2.5m in rent because of a dispute over lift renovation work which would block “convenient access to our offices” for six months.

“IIG CEO, Chris Lock is well aware that we have secured our rent with a $2.5 million bank guarantee and a personal guarantee from Gary Morgan,” said Gary Morgan in a statement.  “Their inflammatory, despicable, bully tactics are unconscionable.”

It is understood IIG placed security guards on the Collins Street building and disabled keycards for it held by Roy Morgan employees.

Roy Morgan’s Single Source data is used many media agencies for channel planning.

The Australian reports Justice Croft told IIG: “You should have come to this court if you were seeking expeditious relief of this kind.”

Comment has also been sought from IIG who had not responded at the time of publication. However it had issued a statement to The Australian over the weekend saying: “The landlord issued the tenant with a Notice to Remedy Breach of Lease however the tenant did not remedy the breach.

“The tenant has since continued to withhold rent and remain in occupancy of the property. The tenant’s defence was due to be filed on Wednesday 16th of December 2015, however, the Tenant has not filed a defence.

“In light of the Tenant’s non-payment of the rent for the months of October, November and December and failure to file a defence, the Landlord, in consultation with legal advisers elected to enforce its rights under the Lease and take action to re-enter the property.”

Asked about the claim that it had not filed a defence Gary Morgan today told Mumbrella: “We didn’t have to file until a certain date.”

Roy Morgan Research was ordered to pay more than $730,000 in back rent.

Justice Croft set the case for a five day trial beginning on February 2.

The dispute comes six months after it was revealed that Roy Morgan had lost $7.85m in the financial year ending June 2014.

According to AdNews the breakdown of the losses, total sales revenue across Roy Morgan fell from $58.7m to $54.1m in 2013 with revenue for key product the Single Source Survey falling from $33m in 2013 to $26.5m last year.

Asked if the company’s financial performance had improved since then Morgan said: “The company has turned around and we are going much better now.

“I don’t have that in front of me but we have filed that and we made a loss but we will be in profit this year.”

Nic Christensen 


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