What are a tenant’s rights if a pornographic photographystudio is located in an adjacent unit and the tenant’s business is being adversely affected?

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What are a tenant’s rights if a pornographic photographystudio is located in an adjacent unit and the tenant’s business is being adversely affected?

I am co-owner of a retail and manufacturing business dealing with the general public, families, and children. Our office and retail space is located in a building with other units, one of which is regularly used for pornographic photography occurring at unpredictable hours/days. All units in the building share a hallway and restrooms. On numerous occasions we have had incidents involving obscene noises from the pornographer’s unit causing interruption to business operations. The landlord was contacted and installed low-grade soundproofing to the offending unit. However, generally, the landlord is unresponsive to my nuisance/moral complaints, my loss of business, and the harm that this has done to my business reputation.

Asked on March 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, since you don't own the building you have very limited options. Much more limited options than if you were a residential tenant in let's say a residential apartment building. If the adjacent business is a pornography business, and if that business was there first, then you pretty much may lose out because you should have conducted (in the eyes of the law) the appropriate research to know what your neighbors are to either bring business to you or to ensure you won't drive business away. If you were at that location first, then you actually may be in a negotiating position with your landlord. Either way, document all you ask and what the landlord actually does and show that it is actually harming your business because if you sue, you must show actual economic damages, otherwise, you won't get a penny. You may also decide a space somewhere else might be a better location, in which case use this issue with the pornography business to get out of your lease early. You may also quietly check in with your state attorney general or local prosecutor's office on any noise and decency laws this bueinss may have violated.


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