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Ask Stuart J Your Own Question

Stuart J
Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 19608
Experience:  PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
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Is it too late to pick up on the communication I had with you

Customer Question

Is it too late to pick up on the communication I had with you regarding my lease and my position with regard to my dog
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
Hi

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

If Law Denning is available could I please communicate with him

Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
i I will ask him to look at this for you.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Do I just wait for Law Denning to make contact

Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
Yes, he will be along soon.

There's no need to sit online. You'll get an email when he responds.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

His name was Touchwooden if that helps

Expert:  Jo C. replied 9 months ago.
Dont' worry, I know him.
Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 months ago.

Hello again.

I was offline for a short while.

I look forward to helping again.

Have they capitulated/backed down?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Hello, I didn't know if you would still have my case on file. I am so pleased you are still with Just Answer.


 


No they haven't capitulated and whilst the Chairman of the Residents Association has more or less agreed to turn a blind eye to the situation, some of the residents are being quite unpleasant. They are insisting that the lease was changed when we purchased the freehold.. The original lease stated that the Lessee shall not keep or suffer to be kept in or upon the demised premises any animal which may be a nuisance or annoyance or cause damage or inconvenience to the lessor or to the owner or occupier of any other flat etc etc. I thought the original lease could only be changed with the agreement of all owners. I do remember a decision being made by I believe 7 to 6 at one of the Residents meetings which I did not attend. However I understood from our previous discussions that such changes could not be enforced in this manner unless all freeholders were in agreement. Incidentally the dog is a small cocker spaniel and always kept on the lead, does not bark and has never been a nuisance in any way. I was again confronted today by one of my neighbours who thought I should be more discreet (ie not walk in the 7 acres of ground in which the apartments are situated). I would really like to be able to put something in writing to everyone letting them know that I am not breaking any rules but still not sure of where I stand legally.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 months ago.


Yes, I am still here. Having been here since 2008, I cannot see
me moving any time soon.

Yes, I can still see the original question with regard to your
daughter coming with her dog.



It is not a case of them turning the blind eye, it is a case of
them having not got a leg to stand on (rather like the dog having a P) in the
lease does not prohibit this.



If it was changed at the time that you bought it, it would either
have to have been agreed to be changed by you or, by the seller before you
bought. That seems most unlikely.



I would simply ask them to show a copy of the new lease which you
are alleged to have or a copy of the deed of variation signed by the previous
owner. That should shut them up, failing that, they can insist as much as they
like.



The lease quite clearly says that you can keep animals but they
mustn't be a nuisance.



Generally, in developments like this, all the leases are the
same. Sometimes, the lease will actually specify that all the leases must be
the same and the idea is to stop people changing individual leases to the
detriment of other leaseholders.



If it does not say that, there is no problem with one lease being
changed but both the freeholder and the management company if there is one and
the leaseholder must agree.



To be honest, I would not rise to the bait by putting anything in
writing except to the chairman of the residents association asking for a copy
of the lease or deed of variation which is alleged to prohibit the keeping of
animals. Tell him that failing that, you look forward to receiving his
confirmation that he has communicated this to all the other leaseholders so
that there can be no misunderstanding

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Thank you for your reply. Before I write to the Chairman of the Residents' Association I should like to give you a few more perhaps relevant facts. I purchased the apartment 23 years ago which then had a 99 year lease. The now 999 year lease commenced in 1988 and I have been the only occupier/owner. I have never signed a Deed of Variation to say that I agreed to change the rules about allowing dogs on the premises and as I understand, I would have had to be a party to this change. Would it be possible that some of the owners have agreed to this variation and that the rule would apply to their apartment or would we ALL have had to agree? I want to make sure I have all the facts before I ask the Chairman for a copy of any Deed of Variation. I do have in front of me a copy of the 'new' 999 year lease in which there is no mention of dogs. However that does not mean that maybe I have overlooked receiving any Deeds of Variation although I would certainly not have signed such a Variation. The new lease mentions 'THE ORIGINAL LEASE AS VARIED IF APPLICABLE SHALL CONTINUE IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT SAVE AS VARIED HEREBY AND THE RIGHTS EXCEPTIONS RESERVATIONS COVENANTS AND PROVISIONS OF THE ORIGINAL LEASE SHALL CONTINUE TO APPLY FOR THE WHOLE OF THE NEW TERM SAVE THAT WITH EFFECT FROM THE EXPIRY OR PREVIOUS SURRENDER OF THE HEAD LEASE THE COMPETENT LANDLORD COVENANTS WITH THE TENANT TO PERFORM AND OBSERVE THE INTERMEDIATE LANDLORD'S COVENANTS IN THIS LEASE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE NEW TERM'. (whatever all that means!).


 


Does this help you at all?

Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 months ago.


Thank you.

Unless your lease and the other leases say that all the leases
must be the same, (in which case all the leases must remain the same) then each
lease can be different and each lease can be varied.



To be honest, there is absolutely no reason why anyone who has no
intention of keeping a pet should change their lease to stop people keeping
pets because it is of no advantage to them. It could have been done as part of
a reciprocal arrangement but that seems extremely unlikely. Indeed, even if it
was done, why limit the number of future buyers that you might get when you
come to sell the property?



If all the leases don't have to be the same, then you do not or
have to agree.



If there has been a deed of variation, it should have been
registered at the land registry but sometimes people are remiss in doing so.
However, if all the rest of the non-pet lovers want to rely on it, they had
better come up with something signed by a previous owner. As this has not
cropped up in 23 years, I think it is unlikely that this ever happened and
therefore what you are asking for is an impossibility I am glad to be able to
tell you.



With regard to what you put in capitals, the previous paragraph
that I have written applies. Basically it means that if there has been a deed
of variation, the original lease is completely as it stands but subject to the
amendments in the deed.



There is an original lease of 99 years and later lease of 999
years and I assume that neither of them referred to pets. I therefore think
that the variation they are talking about could be the term going from 99 to
999.



It could be that the new lease slipped in a new covenant, not to
keep pets and therefore you need to look at the new lease. If the new lease
doesn't mention it and there is no deed varying it (it seems unlikely), then
the situation is exactly as I have already explained to you.



If there was a covenant in the deeds, or a deed of variation
lurking around, the management company or the freeholder would not be turning a
blind eye. They, along with all the other leaseholders who do not want animals
would be jumping up and down for joy and having a little party and waving
relevant document at you and telling you that you couldn't have pets. I am sure
you take my point.



They obviously have not done that which probably says it all

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

The first lease (99 year) stipulated that the Lessor shall not keep or suffer to be kept in or upon the demised premises any animal which may be a nuisance or annoyance or cause dame or inconvenience to the Lessor or to the owner or occupier of any other flat etc. In those days I had two dogs as did other owner/occupiers and I myself would certainly never have bought the flat had I thought that one day the ability to keep a pet might change.


I am now 92 and it is possible that for this reason the Chairman of the Residents Association who is himself in his 80s might in fact be turning a blind eye, despite the fact that he is not a particularly pleasant man. Either that or he knows that I am in the right and does not want me to rock the boat by delving too deeply into the terms of the lease. He has never wanted dogs on the premises.

Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 months ago.

He might not want dogs on the premises but unfortunately for him and fortunately for you, he is stuck with it. As I said before, I don’t think he is turning a blind eye at all, I do not think that he has a leg to stand on

once you buy the lease of the flat, the idea of the lease is that there is certainty. The certainty applies to the covenants in the lease and you are entitled to rely on them. Not keeping pets is no different than paying the rent or being able to use the common parts or actually leasing the kitchen! Whatever is in the lease at outset remains all the way through it unless you agree otherwise which clearly, you did not do and would not have done.

Kind regards

Stuart J, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 19608
Experience: PGD Law. 20 years legal profession, 6 as partner in High Street practice
Stuart J and 4 other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

I have nowreceived an email which thas been forwarded to t everyone stating that I am a nuisance and inconsiderate to the other residents by continuing to have my daughter's dog to stay How can I put a stop to this Is there any way I can get a solicitos letter that I can send to all these people

Expert:  Stuart J replied 9 months ago.
I am afraid that we are unable to write letters for you but any solicitor will be able to write this letter.
You cannot be a nuisance simply by having this an animal stay with you unless it messes all over the common parts and barks all the time which I understand is not the case.
I also think that this is defamation and the solicitor should threaten a defamation claim and legal costs if there is not an immediate retraction although the cost of bringing legal action would actually be prohibitive in all probability

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