Unwanted Dogs

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    Unwanted Dogs

    A few months ago we had reason to send a solicitors letter to a long lease holder because she was keeping a dog in her flat. It was not her dog but her daughters
    Our lease states this
    1. Not without the previous consent in writing of the Lessors (which consent may be revoked at any time without any reason being assigned for revocation) to keep nor allow to be kept any bird, reptile, dog, cat or any other live animal in the Demised Premises.
    1. She has never been granted permission to have a dog stay at her flat
    After receiving our letter her Solicitor replied

    Our client confirms that she will not keep a dog or have a dog to stay at her property.
    This then stopped us from taking further action at the FFT

    The women has recently come out of hospital and has for the last week had her daughters dog and someone else’s stay all day long, but they are taken somewhere else of a night. They then come back first thing and stay until night time ( basically taking the mick)

    We do not want dogs in our block of flats. We do sometimes grant permission for a occasional visit
    Of a dog but not as a long term thing.
    Is this women still in breach of the lease.
    She is playing on the “ I am ill and need a dog” The Tribunal could possible take a dim view of us if we took action now ,that’s if she is still in breach of the lease.

    #2
    The lease does not state that dogs etc are not permitted and it implies that they will be permitted at least sometimes otherwise consent could not be revoked.
    It also refers to dogs etc being kept at the property therefore you do not appear to have any right to deny dogs visiting the property and your statement that you do not want any dogs in your block of flats appears to be unreasonable.
    I assume that the leaseholder would argue that the dogs are only visiting, she ensures that they do not stay overnight and cause disturbance to other occupiers and therefore she is not in breach of the lease.
    I am concerned that you appear to be monitoring this leaseholder and movements on a 24 x 7 basis and that appears to be unreasonable.
    There is probably a clause within the lease whereby the leaseholder is entitled to peaceable enjoyment of the apartment and there is a risk that you are in breach of the lease.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks for the reply eagle2
      We are not monitoring the leaseholder,neighbours see what is going on.
      So what does "stay at the property" cover, visiting doesnt cover weeks at a time does it.
      Other leaseholders who brought the flat under the ssumption
      that dogs were not allowed, surely they are entitled to peaceable enjoyment of their apartment so if the dogs are a problem for them.
      Where do they stand

      Comment


        #4
        “Stay at the property” does not appear to be a term used within the lease therefore it is unimportant. The leaseholder may have a different interpretation from you or me and she may well say that her circumstances have changed since she made the statement.

        What matters is whether or not she is complying with the lease ie keeping or allowing to be kept a dog etc

        If the neighbours are monitoring the leaseholder, you have a duty to ask them to cease in order that the leaseholder may peaceably enjoy her property.

        Other leaseholders do not have the right to assume that dogs are not permitted because that is not what the lease says. There seems to be no reason why dogs may not visit a leaseholder at the premises.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks for that eagle2 Point taken and understood

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by leaseman2014 View Post
            We do not want dogs in our block of flats. We do sometimes grant permission for a occasional visit
            Of a dog but not as a long term thing.
            Is this women still in breach of the lease.
            It doesn't really matter what you want, it's what the lease says that's important, and the lease says she can't keep dogs without permission of the freeholder. Usually such permission should not be unreasonably withheld, and I imagine the FTT would take that view. So yes, if I were you I'd be very careful about surveilling this woman, especially if she is unwell and her dog acts as a service dog.

            What is the reason that you do not want dogs in this flat? Have there been any complaints?

            Comment


              #7
              Benzo makes good points. Putting it slightly differently why do you not allow well behaved dogs in your block of flats? A question you may well be asked if you go to a Tribunal.

              I can imagine the leaseholder producing evidence that the presence of a dog will aid her recovery after being hospitalised. She could also claim that you are causing her unnecessary stress at this difficult time for her.

              I do not think that you have any grounds for claiming a breach of the lease and I certainly do not recommend that you make an application to the FTT.

              Comment


                #8
                The lease requires written permission. It also allows permission to be unreasonably revoked. It says nothing about not being unreasonably refused. I would say there was a clear breach of the lease. Whether you must enforce it depends on whether or not there a clause in the lease mandating that you enforce covenants in other leases. Otherwise, whether you should enforce it involves judgements as to what is in the best interests of everyone.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Written permission is only required if a leaseholder intends to keep a dog which is not the case here. There is therefore no breach of the lease and it follows that a breach cannot be enforced. Whilst the lessor is not required to give his reasons to a leaseholder for not allowing consent, it is implicit that he should have a valid reason and he would be asked to explain his reasoning if it proceeds to a Tribunal. The lease does not permit the lessor to exclude all dogs from the block and the information supplied to us indicates that the lessor is acting unreasonably.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by leaseholder64 View Post
                    The lease requires written permission. It also allows permission to be unreasonably revoked. It says nothing about not being unreasonably refused.
                    My assumption - that FTT would look unfavourably on a freeholder unreasonably withholding permission - was based on my understanding that FTT at base expect people to behave reasonably. And as we've not yet seen a reason for not wanting to have well-behaved dogs in this block, to me, that's the definition of unreasonable - i.e. it's without reason, without evidence. I do agree that there's nothing in the lease to prevent a freeholder from acting unreasonably - I just figured it would be hard to sell at FTT.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I think that the title of this topic clearly indicates the lessor's views.

                      There seems to be some history between the lessor and the leaseholder, it is unusual to even consider going to a Tribunal on this point alone and the leaseholder has responded through her solicitor.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        There are two reasons why you wouldn't want a dog in a flat.

                        One is potential Damage. Well the deposit and tenants home insurance might cover that. Landlords insurance also might cover it. But a well behaved lap dog (a nice cavalier perhaps) would not normally cause much damage. Unless like our Alfie (RIP) who took to pissing by the back door when he was too old. Eventually meaning that the laminate fell apart and stank of piss. (Once he was dead I replaced it - mind you it was 20 years old at that point and past it's best)

                        Two is Barking. Not usually a problem if the owner is there most of the time. Training can help.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          "Not without the previous consent in writing of the Lessors (which consent may be revoked at any time without any reason being assigned for revocation) to keep nor allow to be kept any bird, reptile, dog, cat or any other live animal in the Demised Premises."

                          Two comments on the above clause:

                          The words in brackets effectively mean that any consent given is no consent at all. The landlord can give consent for a dog; the next day the leaseholder goes out and spends several hundred pounds on a pedigree puppy; the day after the landlord revokes the consent; the tenant has no redress. That cannot be right. One can see why the words are there - it is obviously useful if a landlord has complete control. However, I think the clause goes too far.

                          What does "keep" mean here? I think it has to be a question of degree. I think you have to say the following are not ruled out: visits, even reasonable length stays, by friends with dogs; occasionally looking after a dog for a friend on holiday or in hospital. What the leaseholder is doing is very much borderline and not clearly a breach of covenant.

                          Assuming the dog is no bother I do not think it is worth the time and effort of going to the FTT with a case that is easily lost.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I agree that the consent clause is open to abuse but I think that a Tribunal or a court would consider what is intended by the lease. Whenever I have encountered a similar clause I have usually allowed conditional consent at the outset ie provided that the pets are well behaved and do not cause disturbance to other occupants. To be fair, I have never known a leaseholder admit that his pet is badly behaved. If a complaint is received, I consider it and invite the leaseholder to comment. If a complaint is upheld, I allow the leaseholder time to deal with the problem. Only if genuine complaints continue to be received would I consider revoking consent ie as a last resort.

                            I also agree that the leaseholder here is pushing the meaning of “keep” to the limit but I note that she is being advised by a solicitor. I suspect that we have been given a fraction of the story and it would be interesting to know the leaseholder’s views.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hi Everyone.

                              Directors have to take into consideration the views of the other leaseholders.In this case for 42 years we have had a no dog policy
                              the matter is cleared up now at the cost of a lot of money for the leaseholder. At our recent A.G.M. The members voiced their opinion about dogs so maybe this ackward subject will not arise again in our community.Thanks for the replys even if they did differ,everyone has an opinion but it is all cleared up now.I am just a rotten Director upholding what the Company feels is right.
                              PS I love dogs but will not even let my granddaughter bring her dog to my flat.One rule for all

                              Comment

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