Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
Check your lease before buying or Fido may have to go...
Earlier this month, the Government moved to make it easier for renters to find a home where they can keep a pet. But where do long leaseholders stand when it comes to sharing their home with an animal? The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) which regularly gets asked this question, reports that flat owners often don?t understand how they can be prevented from keeping a pet when they own their own home. In reality, leasehold isn't ownership in the true sense of the word but is, in effect, a long-term rental agreement. This means that flat owners are still subject to the terms of their lease, which may include a no pets clause.
LEASE says these clauses may read along such lines as:
not to keep any bird dog or other animal in the Demised Premises [ie your flat] without the previous consent in writing of the Lessor?such consent to be revocable by notice in writing at any time on complaint of any nuisance or annoyance being caused to any owner tenant or occupier of any other flat in the building.?
Where there is no reference in the lease to keeping pets, landlords may still fall back on a general nuisance clause and argue that pets aren't allowed in the building. "However", says LEASE, "unless the landlord can prove that actual nuisance is being caused, the leaseholder would have the law on their side and a good case for keeping the pet in question. Unfortunately, if you do get caught keeping a pet in a block where there is a "no pets" restriction in the lease, the freeholder can obtain an injunction enforcing the removal of the animal from the property and you are likely to be liable for any legal costs too". Most leaseholders don't bother to read their lease before they buy a flat but if you are an animal lover, this is another good reason to do so.
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
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