I have a long lease (80 years) on a flat and am in the process of selling. The buyer has a cat but the landlord has informed me that there is a blanket ban on pets at the property. The lease itself states the following: "8. No bird dog or other animal may be kept in the flat without the written permission of the Lessor which permission may at any time be withdrawn or revoked" In correspondence he has stated the following: "As you can see we have had issues with cats in this flat before – as they used all the cellars on the other side as toilets – leading to mess and foul smell. In the distant past we have also had issue with a lady [long since moved] on the ground floor – who had a dog. We had to take legal action and she moved. 8 Kings has always had a no-pet policy – with no exceptions. For sure folks have visitors who have dogs which occasionally stay – but this is different from animals living in flats. I am not able to make any exceptions for these reasons. I am really sorry about this – but it would not be fair to everyone else. I have tried to be as helpful as I can – and will do what I can to help – but I can't change this rule." My answer was as follows: "Hi Tim, Please note the following: 1. As you are probably aware, consent cannot be unreasonably withheld. This therefore means that each case must be looked at individually and therefore a blanket rule is not acceptable. 2. The lease states that permission can be revoked at any time, the implication being that if a nuisance was caused then you could force the leaseholder to get rid of the pet. 3. A cat is quite different to a dog and so I do not believe comparisons can be drawn between the two – dogs bark, especially when left home alone. 4. A proviso could be put into the permission to say that the cat must not foul in external common areas and putting the onus on the cat owner to train their cat to use a litter tray. 5. There would of course be a benefit that the rat and mouse population in the vicinity would decrease, which I believe must be taken into consideration. I would be grateful if you would respond to each point." The landlord's subsequent response was: "Rupert – I have explained my decision below. I am not willing to grant a licence for any animals in the building. There has been 2 cases of animals causing a nuisance in the building – one of which was cats in flat 8. I think that this is an entirely reasonable approach which is supported by other residents. I understand your frustration at potentially loosing a sale – but your agents should have asked the question before they started marketing – and your purchaser should have raised this issue at the beginning. As you are well aware its a very normal provision to have a restriction against animals in flats – and this is designed to protect other residents." I have read the following online: "STATEMENT FROM THE OFT: The Law It’s also important to remember that the Office of Fair Trading considers a blanket ban on keeping pets in a property to be unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Therefore landlords should not include a “No Pets” clause in their standard tenancy agreement. The Office of Fair Trading believes that a fair clause would require the tenant to get the landlord’s consent before they bring pets into the property but the landlord should not unreasonably withhold their consent. For further information on these regulations please go to www.oft.gov.uk" Whilst I appreciate the OFT no longer exists, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 is still valid and I was wondering if the above has any credence. In addition to the points I made above, our flat does have its own separate entrance being on the lower ground floor and it has exclusive use of a patio area at lower ground floor level, all of which lead me to believe that, despite his comments, it is unreasonable to withhold consent, assuming he still has the power to revoke this consent if the pet does cause a nuisance to other leaseholders. I would be grateful if you think it would be worthwhile me pursuing this argument through my solicitor, or if you think I would not stand much of a chance. I will almost certainly lose my sale if the pets is not given permission, so this is a very important issue for me to resolve, if possible. Regards ***** *****
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service.