Right to keep pets? Is hiding pets okay?

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    Right to keep pets? Is hiding pets okay?

    Hi guys, me and my partner moved into our first house last week, Within our tenancy agreement it stated that pets were allowed at the discrepancy of our landlord and that we needed written permission to keep pets. When applying for the house, nowhere did it say that pets weren’t allowed as usually this is advertised on the advert when the house is advertised. I emailed my property manager over the weekend asking if pets were allowed. I stated that we didn’t want a cat or dog as we knew these were usually a no go when it comes to renting, but mentioned that I was keeping two outdoor rabbits at my parents house, and asked whether it would be appropriate and okay for me to move them across to the garden of this property. He got back to me basically saying that absolutely no pets were allowed at all including outdoor pets. Now I’m not sure if I’m wrong on this as I have had no legal advice, but I read online that under section 12 of the allotments act of 1950, landlords aren’t allowed to discriminate against the keeping of outdoor animals such as rabbits and chickens. I haven’t brought this up to my property manager yet but I spoke to a friend who’s father is also a landlord, and he said that we should be able to keep the rabbits without his permission, and to just simply ‘hide them in the shed when he comes to inspect the house’ now obviously I don’t want to do this if it’s going to cause ridiculous amounts of drama if the landlord finds out. We are however quite annoyed as when we moved into the property the garden was overgrown and full of rubbish, and the living room floors needed replacing. I was told by my friends landlord father that this should have been done before our tenancy commenced, so I am annoyed that we were allowed to move into this house under false pretences that everything would be ready, yet we aren’t allowed to keep two rabbits in our overgrown dump of a garden. Advice would be greatly appreciated. I’d really like to bring my rabbits over, but don’t want to cause more trouble than it’s worth. Thanks!

    #2
    How come you didn’t ask the property manager about pets before you moved in?
    How come you didn’t mind moving in to a property with an overgrown dump of a garden but now you’ve got an issue with it?
    How come you didn’t have any problem with the quality of the flooring before you moved in but now it’s an issue?
    How come you didn’t speak about all of this to your friend with the ‘know it all’ Landlord father before moving in?
    What will you do if the landlord wants to inspect the shed and you’ve got stowaway rabbits in there?
    What size hutch and run will these rabbits have in the garden? Hopefully big enough for the rabbits to run about in but small enough to drag into the shed when the Landlord comes round!!

    Comment


      #3
      What does the actual clause in the tenancy agreement say?

      There's a significant difference for a landlord between pets that don't come into the inside of a property and those that do.

      The allotments act 1950 says that you can keep chickens and/or rabbits and any clause that says you can't is invalid.
      But that won't stop a landlord serving notice on you when they can do so without giving a reason.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by BTL investor View Post
        How come you didn’t ask the property manager about pets before you moved in?
        How come you didn’t mind moving in to a property with an overgrown dump of a garden but now you’ve got an issue with it?
        How come you didn’t have any problem with the quality of the flooring before you moved in but now it’s an issue?
        How come you didn’t speak about all of this to your friend with the ‘know it all’ Landlord father before moving in?
        What will you do if the landlord wants to inspect the shed and you’ve got stowaway rabbits in there?
        What size hutch and run will these rabbits have in the garden? Hopefully big enough for the rabbits to run about in but small enough to drag into the shed when the Landlord comes round!!
        To answer the first comments ignorant questions. We did ask the estate agents about pets before we moved in, we weren’t allowed to speak to the landlord directly before we moved in and we still aren’t allowed to now, they told us everything would be set out when we received the tenancy agreement, and I’ve already told you what that’s stated. Secondly, we never got to view the property in person, an online video viewing was done due to the coronavirus outbreak and the photos that were shown to us were obviously taken before previous tenants moved In. The garden and living room were completely different in the online viewing to how they were when we moved in. We only saw the property for the first time on the day we moved in. Nowhere in the online viewing did it show that the garden was overgrown, the flooring was poor and that the shed was full of rubbish. I didn’t speak to my friends ‘know it all landlord’ because I didn’t know these issues were going to arise obviously??? I only asked him as I’d rather get the opinion of another landlord than ask someone who didn’t know what he was talking about. It’s not really any of your business how I house my rabbits, but the shed on our property is very large and with the notice given from the landlord before viewing the property which is mandatory, I’m fairly certain id be able to make some arrangements. Maybe think about people’s situations before you start being rude for absolutely no reason on the internet.

        Comment


          #5
          jpkeates,

          the tenancy agreements states:

          not keep any animals, birds, reptiles or pets of any description in the property without prior written consent of the landlord or landlords agent such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or withdrawn

          where such consent is given the tenant will pay the agent a fee to amend this agreement in accordance with the agents published scale of fees

          and then under special clauses it just states that is an animal is allowed within the property, we should keep up with the cleaning of the garden before the tenancy commences.

          thats all that’s laid out in the agreement

          Comment


            #6
            To take some emotion out of this - I think the best way would be to read the actual clause in the tenancy agreement and check what it specifies. Often enough these clauses are ambiguous enough to be invalid and then the whole discussion can stop there.

            Comment


              #7
              Miloarchie2016,

              OK, that's really helpful.

              In the first instance the landlord / agent can only decline to give consent if that's a reasonable thing to do. And "not wanting to" doesn't make it "reasonable".

              There are a number of things that would make it reasonable, there's a superior lease that doesn't allow animals, there are local planning restrictions, there are covenants in the landlord's title to the property that don't allow it or the animal that you want to keep isn't at all appropriate (e.g. a giraffe).
              Essentially that have to show that their refusal is something any reasonable person would agree with.

              And, as you have noted, it's not actually possible to decline chickens and rabbits (which is likely to be a surprise to the agent).

              You don't need them to amend that agreement (because the agreement already allows them to permit you to have a pet), and they can't charge you for approving the rabbits. However, as any fee they charge is limited to £50 by the Tenant Fees Act, you might want to let them win that one.

              I think it's important to demonstrate to them that the animals will be kept in the garden, not inside the property.
              I've kept rabbits inside a house and they can do a lot of damage (which I would try and prevent), in a hutch in the garden, not so much.
              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

              Comment


                #8
                jpkeates,

                Thank you for that it really helps to clear some things up. Do you think it would be worth me contacting our housing manager again and stating this information to him? My only worry is that we have only been in the property for just over a week, and I wouldn’t want to create any bad blood between ourselves and the landlord so early into our tenancy, however I didn’t think he would be this stern when it came to outdoor pets.

                on the one hand I feel like I have a decent argument and proof that I should be allowed to keep these rabbits here, but do you think it would create tension that could possibly cause issues in the future?

                Comment


                  #9
                  I don't know how to answer that, really - I don't know the person you're dealing with.
                  Being right is only part of it!

                  Part of me thinks that tenants are often more "troublesome" at the start of a tenancy and then it all calms down once the initial issues have sorted themselves out.
                  So it being early in the tenancy doesn't matter as much.
                  Some people might take the opposite view and earmark you as a troublemaker forerver.

                  I wouldn't do it behind anyone's back though - entitled or not.

                  Maybe wait a few weeks and get in touch "having had a chance to read the tenancy agreement and noticed that the consent wouldn't be unreasonably withheld" and wondered what the reason was? Or ask him to pass the request to the landlord?

                  If the landlord isn't the agent, it's unlikely (but possible) that the agent would persuade them to serve notice just because they're hacked off, but that's the real risk.
                  Upsetting the agent isn't ideal, but you can't always get what you want without someone else not getting what they want.
                  But you don't want to be at war with them or having to find somewhere else to live.
                  When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                  Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Maybe to add to that - do you actually know whether the agent wants no pets or whether the landlord doesn’t? Might well be that this is a case of “less bother so no”. So I would be persistent for now, particularly given the wording of your tenancy agreement (which always helps). Good luck!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Miloarchie2016 View Post
                      ... we weren’t allowed to speak to the landlord directly before we moved in and we still aren’t allowed to now ...
                      If you want to try contacting the landlord directly the letting agent cannot legally refuse to give you their name and a contact address now that you are a tenant if you request this in writing.
                      Section 1 of The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 makes it a legal requirement for them to provide the name and address within 21 days of receiving a written request.

                      Of course, the landlord has no obligation to reply, and if they are letting the managing agents have control (or if the managing agents are the landlord) this might make your relationship with them worse.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Unfortunately I just think you've dealt with this completely wrong. You clearly knew you wanted to keep pets before agreeing the tenancy and rather than having an up front honest discussion about whether this would be possible you accepted the agreement and are now seeking to argue about the law.

                        I think you run the risk of just making sure you only get to stay at the house for the minmum time in the lease. If you'd mentioned during the initial discussions that you'd like to keep a rabbit hutch outside I would be surprised if you'd have had a problem but to now start arguing and particularly if you start quoting the law I would expect your landlord to decide you are too much like hardwork and look to exit you from the property as soon as possible .

                        Sorry if this sounds harsh but I just think the contract's the contract , the time to do due diligence and negotiation was before moving in and if during that time you'd have established you couldn't keep pets , so be it , but that was when you had the greatest opportunity to get a quick view of whether you landlord and you would be able to work together too

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Grim View Post
                          Unfortunately I just think you've dealt with this completely wrong. You clearly knew you wanted to keep pets before agreeing the tenancy and rather than having an up front honest discussion about whether this would be possible you accepted the agreement and are now seeking to argue about the law.
                          I would normally be in complete agreement but, if what we have been told is correct, there is also the fact that the managing agents have effectively misrepresented the property by not ensuring that it was in the condition shown in their advertising when the tenancy commenced (although whether or not this could easily be 'proven' to the satisfaction of a court/tribunal is another matter).

                          If the OP is prepared to compromise, for instance by agreeing to do the work that is necessary to return the garden to an acceptable standard, the landlord may be willing to compromise regarding the keeping of a couple of rabbits - it all depends on how reasonable the landlord wants to be, and how the OP goes about negotiations from this point on.

                          The landlord may be completely unaware of the stance being taken by the managing agent, and the condition of the garden when the tenancy commenced.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            But why would you sign a contract to rent a property unseen, the tenant should have carried out due diligence. It's very difficult to establish the condition of a property from a video and after the event to complain the property is in a poor state of repair in order to justify breaching the tenancy conditions is not the way to behave. Op should have brought these matters up before signing a legally binding agreement. A poor bargain is just that.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              "Within our tenancy agreement it stated that pets were allowed at the (discrepancy) of our landlord and that we needed written permission to keep pets".( sic.)

                              Comment

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