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Paws for thought – Pets in Flats

18th April 2018 by Mark Timberlake

Categories: Business News, Property News
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A commonly found covenant in residential Leases “no pets without consent” should not be ignored.

This was  highlighted in the recent High Court case of Victory Management v Kuehn when the judge ruled against a dog being allowed in a flat stating the reason ‘I love my dog’ wasn’t evidence enough to allow the pet to stay in the flat.

The case related to a lease that prohibited pets without the written consent of the residents’ management company which was owned by the flat owners as a whole.  The management company had a strict “no pets” policy in accordance with the other tenants’ wishes and so when the flat owner requested formal consent for her dog to be allowed in the flat this was refused. The flat owner was later informed that the company would consider special circumstances such as the need for a Guide Dog but no medical evidence of that was provided by the flat owner. She claimed however only that the dog had a therapeutic effect on her.

The flat owner moved into the flat with the dog and the management company obtained an injunction requiring the dog to be removed.  The flat owner appealed to the High Court arguing that the management company had not followed a fair process as it had adopted an inflexible rule which pre-determined the outcome of all applications. The High Court ruled that the injunction still stood, and the management company had not acted unreasonably or irrationally and the reason ‘I love my dog’ wasn’t evidence enough to allow the dog to stay in the flat.

This case serves as a good reminder to both leaseholders and landlords of long term lets.

If you are a leaseholder make sure you are aware of all management company rules and regulations applicable to your new home from the start. If you have a pet then we would recommend you are upfront from the beginning and don’t assume if there is a restrictive covenant on keeping pets that it won’t be enforced.

If you are a management company, this case gives guidance as to how management companies should consider requests for consent not only in relation to pets but also in relation to other regulations.

For further advice on any issues relating to rules governing the use of flats please contact Mark Timberlake at m.timberlake@laceyssolicitors.co.uk or Rob Kelly at r.kelly@laceyssolicitors.co.uk

 

 

 

Mark Timberlake

Managing Partner — Dispute Resolution

Direct dial: 01202 755980
Switchboard: 01202 755980

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  • “The advice Mark gave was very good value for money and the combination of strictly accurate legal advice and common sense were exactly what I needed.”

    Nick Stocks. Director, Spitfire Court Properties Ltd.

  • “Mark Timberlake is an exceptional solicitor. He has a huge depth of knowledge in his speciality and looks after his clients in a very kind and patient manner. Mark is unfailingly courteous and always a pleasure to deal with. I am always confident in any matter that Mark has dealt with.”

    Jane Balmforth

  • “We have had many years of top class professional advice and assistance in many respects of our property ownership. However great our worries initially, matters have been dealt with in a most professional manner and to our satisfaction.”

    Michael Filer, Bourne Court Consortium

Mark qualified as a solicitor in 1989 and since then has specialised in property and landlord and tenant disputes, possession and debt recovery in relation to both commercial and residential property. He has extensive experience in relation to issues involving blocks of flats including representation in the Property Chamber and the courts. He has also dealt with many commercial disputes, professional negligence and insolvency claims.

He has frequently given talks on the law as it affects managing agents through the Association of Residential Managing Agents and other groups.

He has been recommended for many years by the Legal 500 Guide to the Legal profession which has said that Mark ‘is very highly rated by clients’, ‘explains complex issues in understandable terms’ and ‘is excellent in really difficult situations’. He is a committee member of the Bournemouth Law Society and a governor of Dumpton School.

Mark is married with 2 teenage children and at weekends can often be found on his boat which he sails competitively.

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