At Howells Solicitors we receive a lot of legal questions from the public, so we decided to put together a series of FAQs to help answer some of them. Our latest instalment discusses your rights regarding keeping pets in properties with management companies.
Q: I have recently bought a maisonette flat in an old converted Victorian house. I thought this would be the perfect place for me as I have a small dog and the property has a little courtyard that would be perfect for him to run around in.
However, I have recently been told by one of the other residents that the property management company does not allow dogs to be kept in the building. I haven’t fully looked into this, but could it be true? If it is, what can I do?
A: You will need to carefully examine the terms of your lease by the management company in order to find out whether there is a clause that prohibits animals or pets being kept. Often if this clause is included, it is followed by saying that you may be able to ask for consent of the landlord which cannot be unreasonably withheld.
Other clauses that could be cause for concern include wording such as “the lessee must not do or allow anything on the property that causes a nuisance to neighbours”. This could include barking dogs, which could be why dogs have previously been banned from being owned in the building.
In regards to what you can do in this situation, if the lease does not allow dogs then you will need to contact the management company to find out if they will consider changing the terms of the lease. This would need to be done by deed of variation, which would change all other leases in addition to yours. Because you are the one asking for the variation in the lease, you would have to meet all legal costs if this change is accepted.
All restrictions and terms of lease should have been explained to you prior to the purchase of the maisonette. If your solicitors failed to show you these documents then you will need to find out why and where the process went wrong.
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by Tristan Lewis