A couple have lost their legal battle to keep their dog in their flat on a gated estate that has a no pets policy.
The property is held on a long lease and they were told by the freeholders that they could keep the dog in the flat on licence despite the provisions of the lease. However, the residents’ management company, which represents the estate of 146 flats told them that the dog had to be removed because the lease contains a no pets policy. Consequently the freeholder’s licence was revoked and the management company commenced legal action to have the dog removed.
The couple tried to argue that they were not aware of the no pets policy before they bought the flat and that the dog was required to help alleviate the stress of one half of the couple. They also tried to argue that a blanket ban was irrational and their dog caused no problem to other residents. However, at a meeting of the residents in the previous year there was an overwhelming majority in favour of keeping the blanket ban.
The judge decided that the terms of the lease were very clear and the couple were well aware of this. He said that ‘they had taken a risk and they have done so deliberately. The defendants are in breach in terms of their lease. The dog, sadly for them, will have to go’. As a result of this decision, the court granted the management company an injunction to have the dog removed.
The couple have appealed and whilst a date for the appeal is being set the dog has been allowed to remain in the flat.
This case serves as a reminder that it is very important to check the terms of a lease before contracts are exchanged. Most leases will contain a list of regulations and this is where any regulations concerning pets will usually be found so they should be checked carefully to ensure that the wording of the regulation isn’t going to cause any problems further down the line.