HELP - lease clause

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    HELP - lease clause


    Im due to complete on Monday which is the scariest part of this. I have a house cat. My lease is POORLY worded with a clause that says:

    " No pets may be kept in a flat and where the property is a house you must not keep any animal including livestock except a pet without our prior consentwhich will not be unreasonably refused PROVIDED THAT consent may be refused or withdrawn at Landlord sole discretion where any pet creates an annoyance or nuisance or danger to neighbours or any visitors to the estate or damages any part of the premises or estate".

    When I initially enquired about the property the agent advised “pets aren’t a problem - the lease says you must get consent but it’s usually not a problem for a house cat’

    When I received the lease report from my solicitor, it stated that let’s can be kept with consent.

    I emailed the the agent requesting she seek permission for me from the Housing Assoc in advance of moving in. One of the Business Managers at the HA replied advising:

    “The Leaseholder usually is provided permission once they have made the an application for keep a pet, as we’ve recently merged with Nottinghill the existing form needs to be updated.

    I’ve asked our policy officer to update this and forward me the form urgently. I note the exchange date on the 16/08/19, I should have this over to you by the 09/08/2019.

    As soon as I have this form completed, I can then in writing grant permission pending on the information provided.”

    In addition to all of this, the tenants in the property previously had FOUR guinea pigs when I viewed it.

    I know most most people would simply ignore the clause and keep their pet anyway, but I’m concerned. I fought this with the HA, who sent the clause and my comments on to the solicitor to review, which was basically that the clause does not actually say i can’t keep a pet. Mine and my solicitors interpretation of the cause was that pets were allowed providing consent was granted, and as the clause has no punctuation, there is no way to determine whether the right to consent etc applies to only houses or only flats - a comma could be placed in one place or the next and change the entire meaning of this clause.

    Im a bit lost at what to do. I’m reticent to give up on the property given we are so far down the line, but everyone involved has led me to believe there will be no problem

    anyones help would really be appreciated right now as im rather stressed about the whole thing

    thank you in advance!!

    It is common for leases not to contain punctuation.

    I read this as:

    If you live in a flat, there there is an absolute ban on animals.

    If you live in a house, you must ask permission, for livestock, but don't need to ask for pets. There must be a good reason for permission to be refused.

    Even for pets, or where permission has been given for other animals, permission can be withdrawn if the animal causes problems for neighbours or visitors.

    The only confusing part is the final use of pet. I would be more comfortable that the wording was clear if it had set animal, rather than pet. The particular problem is that it talks about refusing permission, but permission can only be refused for non-pet animals.

    It seems to me that, if you keep on good terms with the neighbours, you will be OK.


      On second thoughts, that final reference to pets makes more sense if you read it as other livestock being banned in flats. Pets being allowed without the need to ask in houses. Pets requiring permission in flats and other livestock requiring permission in houses. Are we talking about a flat or a house here.

      There is still a problem that the final use of "pet" doesn't allow permission for the chickens to be withdrawn.

      To me that seems a reasonable policy. Note that most shorthold private landlords would ban pets altogether because of the damage they cause to the property.

      Also you talk about leasehold, but you've posted this in the short tenancy part of the board. I think you wanted the Long Leasehold forum.


        Request LL to consent to 1 cat, in writing.


          I have requested it - they’ve declined because they haven’t read their lease very well

          i just dint don’t know what to do. It seems you would agree the lease is ambiguous - it’s a flat I’m moving into. I don’t think their solicitor or anyone else there has reviewed the clause objectively - only in their own favour, but I feel like given the advice I’ve received from the agent, my Solictor, and that email I post originally - it would be reasonable for me to believe this would be fine and they have essentially all misled me.

          Im concerned that if I pull out I’m going to have to pay exorbitant fees to people that have misled me through the sale, and actually I’m of the belief that the HA should concede.

          Oops apologies for posting in wrong location. Yes it’s Shared Ownership so definitely not shrthold!


            It's simple. You can't have a cat. Yes, you might get permission, but that is only ever going to be temporary, until someone has a problem with it. No you are not correct that "most people would simply ignore the clause and keep their pet anyway".

            You need to find somewhere else to stay if you really want a cat. Apart from anything else it is highly abusive to neighbours who bought theior places in the expectation that there would be no cats. And it might well turn out really badly for you. You are signing a contract to say that you cannot do such a thing, so you cannot do such a thing (unless you want to live in a place where everyone else also thinks they can do as they wish, like run brothels.


              It's only animals that aren't pets you need consent for in a house, isn't it? Why would you even ask for consent?


                It is not clear that this is a house -- if it is then I agree - it was called a "house" cat - but that is the only reference to house. I think it is a brand of cat.


                  The OP said it is a flat in #5.

                  Completion is too late in the day to be making such decisions.


                    Does this tend to be the same in all Housing assoc flats though?

                    i still personally think the lease states you can with permission. I’m still at a stage where I can withdraw as the contracts haven’t actually been exchanged. If I was to do this, what expenses would I then incur, could anyone advise?


                      Originally posted by Jake0254 View Post
                      i still personally think the lease states you can with permission. I’m still at a stage where I can withdraw as the contracts haven’t actually been exchanged. If I was to do this, what expenses would I then incur, could anyone advise?
                      Permission is not forever -- it is just while there is permission and until someone doesn't like the fact that they are ill because there is a cat around, or they get fleas. It is not a change to the contract.

                      So you are misunderstanding the problem -- yes the lease says you can have a cat while you have permission and if you have permission (but not a goat).


                        Haha no goats, don’t worry. The HA says the lease doesn’t allow even with consent. I’ve challenged it but they’re sticking to the party line. Very frustrating. I’m fine with even temporary permission - if it does cause any problems for neighbours I’m happy to reconsider, but as a house cat she would never leave the property so exposure is limited.


                          Interesting clause.
                          I thought there was an absolute right in law to keep chickens and rabbits (outdoors).


                            I don't think the Lease is ambiguous. It clearly states 'no pets in a flat, (not even a 'house cat')'
                            Go find a LL that will accept pets.


                              If anyone is interested.. I just found this!

                              The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) considers a blanket ban on keeping pets in a property to be unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. A fair contract, says the OFT, would require the tenant to get the landlord’s consent before bringing in pets, but the landlord should not be able to unreasonably withhold consent.


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