Those ‘per­fect’ ten­ants were work­ing girls

The rent was al­ways on time and there was never any trou­ble — but they had turned the flat into a brothel, says Vic­to­ria Whit­lock

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Letting On -

WHEN a friend mar­ried and de­cided to rent out her north Lon­don bach­e­lor flat, she thought she’d re­ally lucked out when a lo­cal let­ting agent found her two seem­ingly ideal ten­ants.

They claimed to be ma­ture fe­male stu­dents and the agent said they’d pro­vided good ref­er­ences. They paid the first few months’ rent on time and caused my pal no prob­lems.

She was de­lighted, un­til she de­cided to carry out a rou­tine six-monthly in­spec­tion. Thank good­ness she did. She emailed the ten­ants to let them know she was com­ing. They wouldn’t be home, they said, but they had no ob­jec­tions to her let­ting her­self in. re­turn the keys and said that if she didn’t, she’d re­port them both to the po­lice. For­tu­nately for her, the keys were posted through the let­ter­box the fol­low­ing day and she hasn’t heard from the ten­ants again.

She is lucky be­cause strictly speak­ing, she should have fol­lowed the cor­rect evic­tion pro­ce­dures by serv­ing the ten­ants with a Sec­tion 8 no­tice.

So what should you do if you sus­pect your ten­ant is sell­ing sex from your prop­erty? Pros­ti­tu­tion isn’t il­le­gal in Eng­land, so if it’s just one ten­ant act­ing alone they are not break­ing the law. It’s not an of­fence to turn a blind eye as long as you are not di­rectly prof­it­ing from the busi­ness, or you can serve them with an S8 evic­tion no­tice for breach of con­tract, as­sum­ing your lease pro­hibits work­ing from the premises.

But in my friend’s case, it seemed likely that both girls were bring­ing clients back to the flat, which meant that they had turned it into a brothel — and it is an of­fence to own or man­age a brothel.

In th­ese cir­cum­stances, it’s prob­a­bly best to in­form the po­lice. Also, as most te­nancy agree­ments pro­hibit any il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties on the premises, you are within your rights to serve ten­ants with an S8 evic­tion no­tice for breach of con­tract.

How­ever, as you don’t want to fall foul of the law, I’d say this is one of those oc­ca­sions when it’s prob­a­bly a good idea to seek proper le­gal ad­vice.

£480 a week: a one-bed­room flat on the 20th floor at Hoola, a new dual-tower apart­ment scheme at Royal Docks, E16 (left in the fore­ground), with res­i­dents’ gym and concierge, is for rent through Cop­per­stones (020 7258 6150).

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