kitkat

what to say

9 posts in this topic

hello everybody,

although this is my first post i have been lurking on here for some years and punt on a semi regular basis.

this post is a request for advice really so i'm sorry if it goes on a bit and further may be in the wrong place.

i am a regular client of a lady to whom english is her second language and doesn't feel confident enough to post herself.

the problem is as follows.

the lady is a subtenant of a flat in 9 flat block in london, she is an independant working girl and lives and works from the flat. she is 7 months into a 12 month short term tenancy.

last week her landlord ( who owns a 99 year lease on the flat and is quite happy with her as a tennant, but with no idea what she does) showed her a letter from the managing agents of the block, the relevant part being as follows

'it has been brought to our attention that there are considerable comings (sic) and goings from the property and there is concern that the premises is being used for illegal or immoral purposes and that a business is being run from the property. all of which would be in direct contravention of theterms of the lease.

we therefor ask that you please take the relevant action required to address the situation and that you please update us accordingly'

as the lady in question comes from a culture which encouraged whistleblowers she was obviously upset, but she's also quite fiesty and has asked me to help write a reply.

she would be prepared to give up the apartment and find another but this will take time and inconvenience, but she feels she has to respond to the letter before too long.

so a couple of questions really

should she tough it out, deny any wrongdoing. lets face it nobody can prove what happens behind closed doors as much as they can speculate.

whilst prostitution isn't illegal, is there a definition as to what is 'immoral' and is it usually prescribed in a tenancy

should she just accept it a part of the rollercoaster of escort life.

i don't believe that getting into a protracted game of letter tennis with anyone, which could ratchet up the feelings of everybody concerned to no real benifit.

any avice/thoughts from anybody with relevant experience would be appreciated.

thanks in anticipation

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The "Immoral beheaviour" thing is written as standard into many tenancy agreements. If the lady is taken to court for possession by her landlord they do not have to prove what goes on behind closed doors they just have to show they have had compliants or show a level of visits likely to lead the judge to believe she is working as a prostitute. Bottom line is she will lose out.

Even if she does not she will be on a 6 month lease and they just will not renew the lease when it expires.

Time to look for another flat I think!

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If it's a fixed 12 month tenancy agreement with 5 left to run, even if she leaves of her own free will, she will have to pay for the rest of the tenancy.

It may be easier to find another place to work or tone down her current activity. Then leave the current place when the agreement expires.

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The "Immoral beheaviour" thing is written as standard into many tenancy agreements. If the lady is taken to court for possession by her landlord they do not have to prove what goes on behind closed doors they just have to show they have had compliants or show a level of visits likely to lead the judge to believe she is working as a prostitute. Bottom line is she will lose out.

Here there is a 99 year lease, which will be Registered Land, which, probably, means that you can get (for a fee to the Land Registry) a copy of the lease, and you'll be able to see whether there is a prohibition on "Immoral Behaviour" in it. The case usually cited is Rugby School v Tanahill, which I was taught all those years ago as turning on the running of a brothel at the School Gate, which might have corrupted the pupils. Actually nothing of the sort, if one reads it. The premises (which Mrs Tanahill did, sadly, lose) were somewhere in the Welbeck St, Harley St area, and the case turned on the terms of the lease.

The 12 monthly tenancy which the WG has taken from the Mesne Landlord is a different document, probably a modern draft. Does it prohibit "immorality"? She should be able to show you her copy. It is much more likely to prohibit running a business, which, face it, the WG is indeed doing.

If "Bigjohn" is into Landlord and Tenant matters, then I bow before his actual knowledge. In most cases where Landlords are trying to get possession, County Court judges bend over backwards to give the tenant every chance to keep a roof over his/her head. It would be more difficult if the WG just uses this flat for work, and lives elsewhere.

I fear that the practical answer is, indeed, "Look for another flat." Waiting lists are a problem, but Council Flats are very popular, and the neighbours are rarely any better than the WG tenant, and often a lot worse. I rather doubt whether Council tenancy agreements prohibit immorality - scrounging off benefits and attendance allowance certainly comes under that head in my book.

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Here there is a 99 year lease, which will be Registered Land, which, probably, means that you can get (for a fee to the Land Registry) a copy of the lease, and you'll be able to see whether there is a prohibition on "Immoral Behaviour" in it. The case usually cited is Rugby School v Tanahill, which I was taught all those years ago as turning on the running of a brothel at the School Gate, which might have corrupted the pupils. Actually nothing of the sort, if one reads it. The premises (which Mrs Tanahill did, sadly, lose) were somewhere in the Welbeck St, Harley St area, and the case turned on the terms of the lease.

The 12 monthly tenancy which the WG has taken from the Mesne Landlord is a different document, probably a modern draft. Does it prohibit "immorality"? She should be able to show you her copy. It is much more likely to prohibit running a business, which, face it, the WG is indeed doing.

If "Bigjohn" is into Landlord and Tenant matters, then I bow before his actual knowledge. In most cases where Landlords are trying to get possession, County Court judges bend over backwards to give the tenant every chance to keep a roof over his/her head. It would be more difficult if the WG just uses this flat for work, and lives elsewhere.

I fear that the practical answer is, indeed, "Look for another flat." Waiting lists are a problem, but Council Flats are very popular, and the neighbours are rarely any better than the WG tenant, and often a lot worse. I rather doubt whether Council tenancy agreements prohibit immorality - scrounging off benefits and attendance allowance certainly comes under that head in my book.

Quite right judges normally keen to allow people to stay - but not usually on the immoraliy ground. Unless of course they visit themselves.

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She's obviously been sussed. The landlord is himself in a difficult postion. The risk is that his 99 year headlease could be forfeited by the superior landlord ( who appointed the managing agents). He also has to worry about section 36 SOA 1956 ( Tenant permitting premises to be used for prostitution).

She has rights as a tenant under her tenancy agreement and cannot be evicted without a Court order. The landlord would need to institute proceedings to start the process.

I would start looking elsewhere. In the meantime write to the landlord denying any wrongdoing and ask for further details of the allegations so that she can seek legal advice. That may shut them up for a while. I'd also say that she would be prepared to terminate the tenancy earlier by mutual agreement ( in for example 2 months time) on the basis that any deposit is refunded in full, and is that acceptable. The landord can then tell the managing agents that she's given notice and hopefully the problem will go away.

You can look at the lease and tenancy agreement for restrictions preventing illegal or immoral use, business use etc. They may or may not be there. Chances are that there will be a nuisance clause though.

There's also a danger that the other tenants may take action to scare off her clients. It's not unknown.

Ultimately though it's probably best to move - but in her own time.

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If it's a fixed 12 month tenancy agreement with 5 left to run, even if she leaves of her own free will, she will have to pay for the rest of the tenancy.

It may be easier to find another place to work or tone down her current activity. Then leave the current place when the agreement expires.

I agree here, i dont know much about the legal aspects. I dont see why the lady should give up her home and there is no reason for her to keep on working here. Even if it is not written into the contract about immorality she is obviously pissing of at least one of her neighbours for it to have been reported to the landlord. She should perhaps rent a small apartment nearby or find some discreet hotels in her area to work from. If she writes a letter stating that she does have a lot of freinds and is a very social lady but that she has asked her freinds to refrain from visiting very often then that would appease her landlord and also explain why the foot traffic has diminished since she recieved the letter.

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as been said, the lady best be looking for a new place. It's clear by the letter that considerable human traffic has been noticed going to/from the property. There is also a risk of 'bedroom noise' been heard by other tenants that can be used against her case. Where it is not illegal for her to be working as an escort, it is against the tenancy agreement to work from rented property as renders the insurance on the property useless. She is best to hold her head high and get herself from the place asap, to ease her mind of the people living around her. Working from flats always poses this risk, especially those with communal entrances in view of others.

I have seen this happen a good while ago to someone i knew, now she is banned from applying with the letting agency it happened with, restricting her chances for properties to 'work' from. She also didn't have to pay last of her rent, just lost the bond.

I wish the lady you speak of all the best, it will be a bit of a shock to the system but best she move on and start elsewhere but chose the property carefully ie bottom floor flat and only do so many bookings a day and spread apart, not past certain time at night to respect the tenants living in the block and hopefully wont see a letter like this again.

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many thanks for all the advice. much appreciated.

kitkat

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