Paws for thought – Pets in Flats
18th April 2018 by Mark Timberlake
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.