AST tenant has acquired cat; Agreement prohibits pets

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  • AST tenant has acquired cat; Agreement prohibits pets

    Hi there,

    I'm a tennant with someone else in an AST for 12 month and we've been living in a property since April, now we recently got a cat and didn't tell the landlord as on the contract it says no pets unless you speak with them I think and it's a very well trained 9 year old indoor house cat that never damages anything, but she came round unexpectedly the other day and saw the cat and now says she doesn't want it living there as in her experience "they p1ss and sh1t everywhere!" - this is ridiculous and so is she. There is no way I am getting rid of the cat and I want to know what she can do realistically to us?

    She also comes round to our house when we're not there "to pick up mail" and invades our space which I think is not right. She basically treats it as her house even though we're in there and it's ours. Now also, we recently had a burglary and had to get the locks changed as they stole my handbag with a set of my keys in it, so what I also want to know is that do we legally have to give her a set of keys as we're fed up of all the constant coming round.

    Answers to both of my questions would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    Hannah

  • #2
    - First question - she can do nothing, depending on how the term in the AST is worded. Can you paste exactly what the term about pets says? It is an unfair term to have a blanket ban on pets. IF it IS a valid term, she can technically begin eviction proceedings based upon breach of contract. However, it is unlikely that it is written in such a way as to make it valid. Bear in mind however, that if you want to stay in the property after April, this is now extremely unlikely - at this point she will be able to evict without reason.

    - Keys - no you do not have to give her a set, and indeed I would refuse to do so based upon what you have said.
    Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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    • #3
      What the contract says

      Hi there,

      Thanks ever so much for your reply earlier.

      I have now got the contract and what it says about pets is:

      Not to keep any animals or birds or other living creature on the Property without the Landlord's written consent if granted to be revocable at will by the Landlord.

      Also, there was another point I wasn't sure what it meant and was wondering if you could help me understand this:

      "The landlord may re-enter the Property and immediately thereupon the tenancy shall absolutely determine without prejudice to the other rights and remedies of the Landlord if the Tenant has not complied with any oblligation in the Agreement or should the Rent be in arrears by more than forteen days whether formally demanded or not."

      So if you could see what you decide on the cat point and also the above that'd be great.

      Thanks in advance!

      Hannah

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      • #4
        I'll keep it short...both of those terms are unfair, and you can safely ignore either.
        Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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        • #5
          Hi, thanks for the reply. So real quick. How can you ignore them, is there some kind of standard contrct rights it must follow?

          H

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          • #6
            Yep...the OFT(Office Of Fair Trading) decide what is fair and what isn't for use in AST's. The first term is unfair, as it impacts upon your quiet enjoyment of the property. The second is because it contravenes your statutory rights as a tenant.

            This leaflet should make interesting reading http://www.oft.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/3...2/0/oft381.pdf

            Any posts by myself are my opinion ONLY. They should never be taken as correct or factual without confirmation from a legal professional. All information is given without prejudice or liability.

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            • #7
              Probably also counts being unfair through not being written in "Plain English", so you can understand what it means! (seriously)

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              • #8
                You do still have to have a "Forfeiture" clause in your AST but the one posted is clearly poorly worded. It must refer to the tenant's rights in that possession can only be granted by a successful application to the court by the landlord.

                With regard to the cat the clause should have read something like this:

                "The tenant may not keep any pet on the premises without the landlord's prior written permission, but whose permission will not be unreasonable withheld". This means that you can't be refused a "reasonable" request so you're in the clear.

                I also don't like the fact your landlord enters the premises illegally as they have no right of entry without your express permission. By all means change the locks and don't even give the landlord a spare unless you have a written undertaking that it will not be used except in emergency. No undertaking = no key for the landlord! Oh! And charge her for having to change the locks as it's her fault you've been forced to do it (deduct it from the rent but provide a receipt). You might also tell her that if you went to court concerning her illegal entry it could cost her a fortune in damages! £10,000 is not unheard of!
                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.

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                • #9
                  Hi there,


                  Not to keep any animals or birds or other living creature on the Property without the Landlord's written consent if granted to be revocable at will by the Landlord.
                  "The tenant may not keep any pet on the premises without the landlord's prior written permission, but whose permission will not be unreasonable withheld". This means that you can't be refused a "reasonable" request so you're in the clear.
                  of course its never that straightforward, clauses are put in for a reason, alright i am easy going and i would not object, to a cat , but where do you draw the line, some tenants are never satisfied, i have had one who after having cat then cut hole in outside door for cat flap, then some cats rip off wallpaper and scratch paintwork, the property often smells from them, other tenants can object to the cat messing on there gardens and killing the wild birds, its not easy being a landlord.
                  Opinions given are mine, They are not necessarily correct, as the more I learn the less I know, You should always seek professional help.

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                  • #10
                    It's a fact of life tha cats use other people's gardens, so all cats from surrounding properties may use the garden of a rented property ..I don't see this as a valid reason for witholding permission to have a cat !! You could easily have an owner occupied property next door whose cat uses the garden - and there is diddly squat that can be done about it, apart from scaring the cat away and discouraging it.

                    And I've never yet been able to stop a cat - any cat - from catching wildlife. It's what they do and in their genetic makeup.

                    Originally posted by welshgold View Post
                    other tenants can object to the cat messing on there gardens and killing the wild birds, .
                    Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by pippay View Post
                      It's a fact of life tha cats use other people's gardens, so all cats from surrounding properties may use the garden of a rented property ..I don't see this as a valid reason for witholding permission to have a cat !! You could easily have an owner occupied property next door whose cat uses the garden - and there is diddly squat that can be done about it, apart from scaring the cat away and discouraging it.

                      And I've never yet been able to stop a cat - any cat - from catching wildlife. It's what they do and in their genetic makeup.
                      although you have taken one part of my posting out of context,i will answer this , the point is that in making one person happy you are annoying someone else. The fact that all cats crap does not make you feel happy when they mess on your doorstep
                      Opinions given are mine, They are not necessarily correct, as the more I learn the less I know, You should always seek professional help.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        And in the context of using this as an excuse (on its own) for not allowing a tenant to have a cat, I stand by what I've said. I'm a tenant without a cat (although I'd dearly love one) and all the surrounding owner occupiers cats frequent the rented properties gardens. Perhaps I should take them to court to get them to stop their cats entering our gardens???

                        On the other hand, some cat owners, whether private or tenants, are not very responsible about having cats/dogs and can have several at a time making the place smelly and dirty, ruining furnishings and floorings so I CAN understand that there are more valid reasons for not allowing pets.

                        I just think this one is particularly flimsy and unreasonable.

                        Originally posted by welshgold View Post
                        although you have taken one part of my posting out of context,i will answer this , the point is that in making one person happy you are annoying someone else. The fact that all cats crap does not make you feel happy when they mess on your doorstep
                        Any information or opinion given in this post is based only on my personal experience, what I have learned from this, other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person. E&OE

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                        • #13
                          After the "with permission" clause you will often find another clause that specifically mentions any damage or dilapidation caused specifically by having a pet and the tenant is expected to rectify the problems at their expense. This may include the cost of fumigation to get rid of flea infestations, and could potentially mean replacement of carpets, repairs to doors and walls if the cat has scratched them. And I wouldn't have thought expecting a tenant to pay for that kind of repair would be unreasonable, just as if they had damaged bits of the property even without the help of a pet.

                          If a tenant wants a pet, the landlord should reiterate (perhaps even in writing) what the tenant's responsibilities are regarding the condition of the property, and specifically mentioning the additional deterioration often experienced when pets are involved. Pet owners often don't realise how smelly their pets can be and how the whole place can smell like wet dog!

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                          • #14
                            I might be missing the point here but why is it so unfair for a landlord who owns the property paid for the carpets etc to not want tenants with pets. If the tenant knows from the start what the rules are and they dont like it rent else where.

                            by the way i have a dog and two pet rats (but not a big fan of cats)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by johnboy View Post
                              I might be missing the point here but why is it so unfair for a landlord who owns the property paid for the carpets etc to not want tenants with pets. If the tenant knows from the start what the rules are and they dont like it rent else where.

                              by the way i have a dog and two pet rats (but not a big fan of cats)
                              I suppose you could discuss what "reasonably witheld" could mean. If the landlord says he intends living in the property afterwards and he has a child who is severely allergic to animals that would, IMHO, be reasonable.

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