Our tenants have a cat and we rented no pets

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    Our tenants have a cat and we rented no pets

    Hi,

    Just quickly and on a seperate note, our maintance guy at our property have told us that the tenants has a pet cat - he has seen it everytime he has been there so it is 100% theirs.

    We never agreed to pets, so when they move out can I ask them to fumigate the property or clean it? Also how do we prevent further pets coming on board. Generally the tenants is very good, so I don't want to upset them to much.

    Thank Q

    #2
    Originally posted by jemmastar1980 View Post
    Hi,

    Just quickly and on a seperate note, our maintance guy at our property have told us that the tenants has a pet cat - he has seen it everytime he has been there so it is 100% theirs.

    We never agreed to pets, so when they move out can I ask them to fumigate the property or clean it? Also how do we prevent further pets coming on board. Generally the tenants is very good, so I don't want to upset them to much.

    Thank Q
    Why would you want to fumigate the house? What are you hoping to achieve?

    The tenants should certainly clean the house before they leave to an acceptable standard (the same standard as it was when they moved in).

    It's very difficult to prevent tenants having pets, especially smaller ones such as cats. You could write to them, pointing out that they are in breach of their agreement (if there is indeed a no pets clause in the agreement) but if they ignore it there isn't much you can do to be honest.

    Be pleased that, in other respects, the tenants are 'very good'.

    Comment


      #3
      It would be reasonable to require T to pay for professional steam cleaning of the carpets and soft furnishings as your future tenants may be allergic to pet hair, and to pay for any damage caused by the cat, such as stained carpets and scratching (just as with damage caused by the T himself). I hope you had an inventory/condition report carried out at move in.

      You can't stop them getting another pet (or force them to get rid of the cat), but you could write politely reminding them that pets are prohibited by the contract, and that you will hold them liable for extra costs associated with this breach. Alternatively, you could evict via s.21 procedure at the end of the fixed term - but if they are otherwise good tenants, this would be shooting yourself in the foot.

      Comment


        #4
        In a clause in my own tenancy agreement is that I am allowed to have a pet, but I have to pay an extra £100 so the agency can have the place fumigated when i leave.

        You could send a letter saying you wish to charge them for the extra "tenant" and then it's up to them what they wish to do.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by p_cas View Post
          Why would you want to fumigate the house? What are you hoping to achieve?
          Eradication of any cats left behind hiding in the house, maybe?

          Comment


            #6
            Note the wise guidance from Mssrs OFT on the subject (Google OFT356)...

            Page 64..
            Against keeping any pets.

            Our objection is to blanket exclusions of pets without consideration of all the circumstances. Such a term has been considered unfair under comparable legislation in another EU member state because it could prevent a tenant keeping a goldfish. We are unlikely to object to a term prohibiting the keeping of pets that could harm the property, affect subsequent tenants or be a nuisance to other residents.
            I have a clause "without LL's permission which will not be unreasonably refused" & when discussing the matter with the T use the comparisons of one well-behaved, house-trained stick-inspect vs. 3 non-house-trained, incontinent, Rotties with personality disorders...

            Should have thought normal deposit (apologies for going through the motions) process should handle things...

            You ain't Mary Bale are you???

            Cheers!

            Artful
            I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

            Comment


              #7
              1. Ignore the OFT. Its words have no legal effect at all.
              2. Is the property a house or a flat? Does L own it freehold or leasehold?
              3. (If leasehold) Do any long-lease covenants bar the presence of pets/animals?
              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by jeffrey View Post
                1. Ignore the OFT. Its words have no legal effect at all.
                Indeed, I stand corrected...
                http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2009/83-09
                I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                Comment


                  #9
                  The easiest way to prevent such a problem with pets is to create and put in a "Special Tenancy Conditions" (STC) clause that the tenant has agreed with the landlord prior to the tenancy that they will not keep pets. It works for smokers too as you can't normally prevent a tenant smoking unless they have previously agreed not to. The reason behind using a STC clause is that it's enforceable as it takes such matters outside the remit of the Housing Act 1988.
                  The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by bullybantam View Post
                    There's pets and there's pets. Nobody's gonna be bothered about pets such as guinea pigs or hamsters, but cats & dogs are different matter - how about a clause saying "no carnivourous animals to be kept as pets"?
                    And your point is...? As Paul has explained, if you negotiate such a clause individually, prior to your tenants' signing, it will probably hold water. If it's unreasonable or ludicrous (e.g. you can have a dog but not if it is called Rover), it probably won't. Some TAs specify 'one small dog', which seems reasonable; I expect that LL and Ts negotiate as to acceptable breeds before signing.

                    And don't assume that everyone would be happy about guinea pigs but not about cats or dogs. For example, there are plenty of people who don't mind the idea of pets which are free to move about, but find the near-permanent caging of animals and birds (in any context) morally objectionable.

                    Fortunately I let to students, who have their work cut out keeping themselves fed and exercised on a student loan, so additional wildlife isn't normally a problem. (Except for the feral rat they once befriended, but we won't go into that).
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                      That's why it's a daft clause!

                      The answer is no, but you can keep a Jeffrey All the best qualities of a rhino, without the inconvenience of having to provide six bales of vegetation every few hours.
                      Thanks for the offer - however the bathroom habits might be more of an issue than the feeding. The tenancy deposit would take a hammering.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                        The reason behind using a STC clause is that it's enforceable as it takes such matters outside the remit of the Housing Act 1988.
                        No, it doesn't; BUT it does take such matters outside the remit of the 1999 'Unfair Terms' Regulations (which might be what you meant).
                        JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
                        1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
                        2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
                        3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
                        4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Paul_f View Post
                          The easiest way to prevent such a problem with pets is to create and put in a "Special Tenancy Conditions" (STC) clause that the tenant has agreed with the landlord prior to the tenancy that they will not keep pets. It works for smokers too as you can't normally prevent a tenant smoking unless they have previously agreed not to. The reason behind using a STC clause is that it's enforceable as it takes such matters outside the remit of the Housing Act 1988.
                          Our latest(just started 3rd 12 mth AST) contract has this too, despite the fact that when we first viewed property with LA we quite clearly stated we had cats and my husband said, both to me and LA he wasnt so sure it would be a safe area (close to main road) but upon entering the kitchen saw that there was a cat flap in the door he said that it was probably ok as previous occupants had kept cats. We filled in the usual application forms stating what type pet and number we owned.This was okeyed by LA. LA sent us (to read beforehand)an exact (but blank)copy of contract that we would be signing on move in day and in it there was a pets clause saying the LL gives permission to keep following pets , type of pet number etc. We went on having regular inspections LA was seeing cats, everythings fine, house is immaculte, rents paid on time etc. In the last 3 months of second year of tenancy a new LA took over and we had an inspection where the LA commented on us having cats and asked if we had permission to which I replied yes of course we do. Nothing further was said. We were asked to sign a new agreement and the LA said it was a like for like contract with no changes. W e hadnt had any problems so in good faith we signed. It is only after having problems wanting to leave early believing we had a break clause that all the contracts came out to be examined under a microscope that we saw that 1st LA had added to the pets permission part a tiny n/a . Then we see in the new contract the clause saying we agreed to not keep pets. Why the need to do this? do we send our cats packing? No way would we sign something saying we agreed to do something we quite clearly wouldnt and couldnt do. Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I am afraid that if you only examined the contract closely after you signed it, you cannot complain at this stage that its terms were changed without your knowing about them.

                            However, I doubt your LL could successfully sue for breach of contract and gain a court order for possession on the grounds that you would not get rid of your cats after being allowed to keep them for the first period of your tenancy. Just be prepared to make good any damage and accept that the LL may issue a s21 at the end of the fixed term.
                            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                            Comment


                              #15
                              does anyone really think a LL would gain possession on the grounds that a tenant had a pet but the AST said "no pets" - my vote is no way!
                              Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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