Pets in flats

Many people assume that they can take their pets with them when they buy a property to live in.

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Many people assume that they can take their pets with them when they buy a property to live in. If the property is freehold, this is probably a safe assumption. However pet owners are reminded that if they are buying a flat to live in, the situation might not be so simple.

What the owner of a flat can and cannot do will be governed by the terms of the lease of the flat.  In a recent case, a lease contained a covenant (promise) not to keep pets without the landlord's consent.

The landlord was the management company – each flat owner held a share in the management company and the company operated a no pets policy. Prior to their purchase, the buyers met with the management company and were told that they could not keep their dog at the flat. Despite this they went ahead with the purchase and moved into the flat with their dog.

After the purchase had completed, the buyer applied to the management company for permission to keep the dog in the flat which was refused. The management company would look at any 'special circumstances' to justify keeping a dog – but the buyers did not present any such evidence.

The management company applied for an injunction to remove the dog and were successful in their claim.  The management company had acted reasonably and properly throughout and the buyers had been clear from the outset as to the policy in relation to pets.

Making an application to the court is not something that every landlord or management company would do. However, the case is an important reminder to people buying a flat to ensure that they obtain advice on the terms of the lease and the 'do's and don'ts' before their purchase completes.

To discuss this or any other conveyancing related matter, contact us.

Members: Simon Shaw, Elizabeth Rimell and Janice Leyland.
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