Pets and leasehold – can kitty come in?

One of the most difficult issues a managing agent has to address is pets within a property. Yes they are sweet and friendly and man’s best friend and woman’s to be politically correct but not everybody loves them and finds them as charming as their owners. Particularly when they trail dirt and debris into the common parts from outside or are barking in the middle of the night.

Any leaseholder treads a fine line with a pet because there is always likely to be someone who objects to Mrs Tiddles, Bonzo or for that matter “Kaa”.

What does the law say about pets and leases?

To avoid any issues, when looking to purchase a property, if you have a pet you should ask your solicitor to check the covenants in the lease very carefully to see if there is a complete prohibition on pets.

In the event there is a prohibition then you will need to consider very carefully whether you wish to still purchase the property. In the courts a precedent has now been set in Kuehne vs Victory which has stated that “no means no” when it comes to pets and a there is a possibility that you could be landed with a hefty legal bill and face the choice of selling your flat or getting rid of a much loved pet.

What if there is no clause on pets?

Where a lease is silent on pets, then it is worth asking your solicitor acting for you on your purchase to pose the question as to whether pets are allowed as an additional enquiry to your LPE 1 form and whether there are any restrictions. It may well be that pets are allowed but must be kept on a lead at all times when outside your home.

What happens if there is written consent?

Some leases allow for pets, on the basis that written consent is provided and it is likely that the managing agent will have a formal licencing process for this. Again, your solicitor should ask for this prior to the purchase of the flat and find out what is required. If this clause is included then it is likely that the landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent.

Caution is advised however as this licence or consent will only be given on the basis that the pet does not cause any disturbance. If another resident complains and asks the landlord to enforce the nuisance covenant in the lease or decide to do so themselves then you will again have to look to remove your pet.

What should I do if I want a pet after buying?

What do you do in the event that you have bought a flat and then decide after a period of living there that you want a pet? The advice is pretty much the same. However, it may be that your decision is easier when you are already living in a property as you know the rules and regulations in your building and how your pet would fit in.

It is also important to be reasonable to your pet, as it wouldn’t seem fair to think a great dane would be happy in a top floor flat with no garden even if he is walked several times a day. You should also think about the effect on your neighbours, as exercising a pet snake in the garden may be part and parcel of being a good pet owner but it does tend to scare other residents when they come across him in the grass! (true story)

If you are interested in how MIH Property Management can support you with residential or block management then please get in touch.