A solicitor who sublet her Chelsea flat that was used as a brothel is at risk of seeing it forfeited.
Fiorella Marchitelli, 50, rents out her flat in Westgate Terrace and faced complaints three years ago that there were “transvestites or women dressed like prostitutes” in the building.
Leaseholders reported a stream of “older men in suits with young girls” coming to the flat. Two tribunals have heard that on at least one occasion female occupants of other flats in the building were propositioned for sex by late-night callers.
Solicitor Fiorella Marchitelli is accused of breaching terms of her Chelsea flat Wealthy neighbours say she failed to stop a brothel for ‘transsexual prostitutes’ Ms Marchitelli let out at a £1.2million apartment in the posh neighbourhood A London solicitor faces losing her £1.2million apartment amid claims she failed to stop a brothel for transsexual prostitutes operating out of her property.
The freeholder, which seems to be a residents’ management company albeit with one director, reportedly advised Ms Marchitelli regularly about the activities at the flat but she had refused to acknowledge them or take action.
The Times reports:
“Ms Marchitelli told the property tribunal that she had not breached the terms of the lease, adding that she had been seriously ill at the time the complaints were made. However, she said that she had visited the flat on several occasions and had seen nothing to suggest that her tenants were using it for sex work.”
Just about every lease excludes using a leasehold flat for ‘immoral purposes’. Now Ms Marchitelli faces the risk of lease forfeiture.
Prostitution is a major issue at many prime central London flats, as this example from two years ago demonstrates:
LKP is contacted by leaseholders whose block of flats is being impacted by prostitution, sometimes using Air B&B and similar.
A particularly horrible case in prime central London was revealed after a police raid. The leaseholder who contacted LKP after the raid visited the flat, to find locks fitted to the outside of the bedroom doors, seemingly to incarcerate the occupants.
The flat was owned by an overseas investor, who had never been seen, and the leaseholders themselves urged the landlord to begin forfeiture proceedings.
However, LKP is unaware of any case in recent years where a leaseholder has unwittingly sublet their flat to prostitutes and lost it owing to forfeiture.
A lawyer may lose her exclusive flat in London after a tribunal ruled that there was “considerable circumstantial evidence” it had been used as a brothel. Fiorella Marchitelli, 50, who is listed by regulators as a non-practising solicitor, has been accused of breaching the terms of a 987-year lease on a Chelsea flat that she sub-let.
Marchitelli v 15 Westgate Terrace LTD (LANDLORD AND TENANT : Breach of covenant)  UKUT 192 (LC) (18 June 2020)
UTLC Case Number: LRX/133/2019 TRIBUNALS, COURTS AND ENFORCEMENT ACT 2007 LANDLORD AND TENANT – Breach of covenant – permitting or suffering use of premises for immoral acts – whether sufficient evidence of prohibited use adduced to discharge burden of proof – adequacy of FTT’s reasons and findings of fact –
Adventures in forfeiture – brothels and specifying the breach – Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment
Marchitelli v 15 Westgate Terrace Ltd (2020) UKUT 192 (LC) An Upper Tribunal appeal of an FTT decision that the leaseholder, Ms M, was in breach of lease, and specifically a restriction “Not to do or permit or suffer in or upon the Demised Premises or any part thereof any illegal or immoral act or […]