Unauthorised subletting

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    Unauthorised subletting

    No damages awarded for unauthorised subletting. Doesn't set a good precedent IMO.

    https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2021/11.html

    Booking.co lettings, possibly HMO, Sub-sub-subletting, advertising and offering sexual services from the flat.
    I'd have thought the claimants had suffered a loss to the value (and reputation) of the property.
    Surely it's going to make a property worth less than if it was let as a single family home (as per the lease). It's difficult but not impossible to quantify.


    Should the claimant have gone for forfeiture instead and what would have been the chances of success?

    #2
    I do not think that the case sets a precedent, but rather confirms the well-established principle that if you want damages for breach of contract you have to show a loss. When a lease is granted the essence of the bargain, from the landlord's point of view, is that the tenant pays rent. Nothing the tenant has done has affected the landlord's right to receive the rent he negotiated. When the lease ends nothing the tenant has done will stop the landlord reletting. The courts have decided that the "reputation" of a property is something too ephemeral to be assessed.

    It is possible that a court may have allowed forfeiture, but the snag with forfeiture is that is that brings to an end the right to receive rent. A landlord can also apply for a injunction, but there is little point doing so if compliance with the injunction is of no real benefit to the landlord.

    The lesson for landlords here is not to go looking for extra cash from tenants unless they can show a loss. It is also a reminder that, from the tenant's point of view, the essence of a lease is that he gets a space to use. Whilst many restrictions may be entirely reasonable, if a tenant breaches a restriction and no harm is done to the landlord's interest, the court may well decide it is no skin off the landlord's nose.

    Comment


      #3
      Three points, posted separately, as I need to break them down and I acknowledge you know more about it than me.

      Firstly,

      Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
      It is possible that a court may have allowed forfeiture, but the snag with forfeiture is that is that brings to an end the right to receive rent.
      I don't understand the snag? It's a million pound flat with just a 3K pcm rent?

      Comment


        #4
        Secondly;

        Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
        but rather confirms the well-established principle that if you want damages for breach of contract you have to show a loss.
        You've made this point knowledgeably many times before and the Judge here has reinforced that.

        Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
        The lesson for landlords here is not to go looking for extra cash from tenants unless they can show a loss.
        I think they can show a loss.

        The courts have decided that the "reputation" of a property is something too ephemeral to be assessed.
        I've bought re-po'd flats that were used as brothels, weed factories and flop beds for a third of their recent sale price, it's not ephemeral, it's quantifiable hard cash.

        Comment


          #5
          Thirdly;

          Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
          I do not think that the case sets a precedent,
          There is very little downside for breaching a lease, it's a big thumbs up to those inclined to do it.

          There is, to my mind, nothing the least exceptional about a breach of contract constituted by the subletting of residential premises without prior written consent of the landlord. Indeed, it might be suggested to be so commonplace as to be a modern social evil.
          With all the knock on bad consequences that entails.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by boletus View Post
            There is very little downside for breaching a lease, it's a big thumbs up to those inclined to do it.
            I think we can say that that applies just about equally to landlords and tenants. Landlords have the edge though as they can threaten forfeiture, while no equivalent right exists for tenants.

            As I said above, the essence of a tenancy is that the tenant gets to use land in exchange for cash and many of the terms imposed are reasonable to protect the value of the landlord's reversion. Leases have though become increasingly restrictive with provisions included to provide an opportunity for landlords to make extra cash.

            What comes across from the case is that the landlord was peeved that the tenant was making a profit from subletting and wanted some of the action. The court's response was to say: "You agreed a rent for a specified period; the tenant is paying the rent; you have not suffered a loss; go away."

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
              What comes across from the case is that the landlord was peeved that the tenant was making a profit from subletting and wanted some of the action.
              That's one, rather cynical, way of looking at it.

              My impression was they were doing it for the good of the other residents, to protect their asset and to prevent illegal activity.

              Comment


                #8
                From the same building;

                https://tempusmagazine.co.uk/news/ne...ial%20building.

                New £55 million penthouse in Centre Point building goes on sale

                Comment

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