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Advice needed: Pet in leasehold flat

edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
21 replies 739 views
CallumW94CallumW94 Forumite
1 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 12:00AM in House Buying, Renting & Selling
Hello,

Today I have just had my offer accepted on the perfect ground floor flat for me, there is just one problem...

My girlfriend who will be staying round the flat occasionally, maybe twice a week, has a very small dog. He's a good dog and hardly ever barks.

The estate agent representing the vendor's sale of the property to me contacted the management company that owns the building and enquired about pets in the building and they have replied that pets are not allowed. However, she assures me that she has witnessed dog owners in the building and the management company is based in London essentially meaning that there are little to no checks and that it would be fine.

I have yet to get to the stage of signing all the documents so have not seen anything in writing that says no pets.

The dog is small, makes little noise, and would not be a nuisance at all. Am I right in thinking that as long as this is the case there should not be a problem and I should just not mention anything, after all, how would they even know I had a dog in the flat if it wasn't a nuiscance and I am the only one to have access to the flat. If there was any issue could I simply claim ignorance, or claim that I was misled by the estate agent representing the sale of the flat to me?

Kind answers please as I appreciate there may be some silly questions here.

Thank you
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Replies

  • steampoweredsteampowered Forumite
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    Take anything you are told by the estate agent with a massive pinch of salt.

    If the management company are telling you that pets aren't allowed, I assume there is a basis for them to say that.

    Hopefully it will be absolutely fine. I guess you would only run into trouble if a management person sees the dog or a neighbour complains about him.

    You couldn't be fined, but you could be warned by the management agent and told not to bring the dog into the flat in future. Whether you were misled by the estate agent or not is neither here nor there.
  • ACGACG Forumite
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    The estate agents job is to sell the property.
    What happens if a neighbour takes a dislike to you and reports you to the management company?

    If you complete, you do so knowing that you run the risk of being told the dog can not stay. There is not much more anybody can add. It does not specify between nuisance or noisy animals and good quiet ones.
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  • MovingForwardsMovingForwards Forumite
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    Small dog, makes little noise, hardly barks, sounds like my neighbours pug..... which I can hear in my flat.

    What happens if you want to live together, the dog will be around all the time, left alone, in breach of your lease.

    Best off finding a new property as it isn't worth this risk, all it takes is a grumpy bitter neighbour to complain.
  • mrschaucermrschaucer Forumite
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    You need sight of the lease to see whether it precludes OWNERSHIP of a pet (you don't own one), which is relatively common, or whether pets are not allowed in the building, which would be rarer as it's harder to enforce.
  • G_MG_M Forumite
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    Ignore the agent. Read the lease. What does it say?

    Management company in London? So what? It only takes one complaint from one other leaseholder, for them to know, and take action.

    Dogs seen in the building? OK, so someone else has decided to risk it. You can also decide to risk it - so long as you accept it IS a risk!

    Just bear in mind, if I buy a flat in your building, it will be partly because I've checked the lease which (I assume) says 'no pets'. I hate dogs. Don't judge me, I just do. So yes, I'd complain to the management company if someone else in my building introduced a dog despite the lease saying they can't.
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  • eddddyeddddy Forumite
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    CallumW94 wrote: »
    However, she assures me that she has witnessed dog owners in the building and the management company is based in London essentially meaning that there are little to no checks and that it would be fine.

    Management companies don't generally go round checking for pets, etc.

    The risk is that a neighbour reports to the management co that a dog is staying in the flat.

    I guess a neighbour might do that because...
    • The dog is causing them some annoyance
    • They're angry with you about something else, so report the dog as revenge
    • They're busy-bodies who like to report anyone who breaks the rules

    Assuming there is a 'no pets' covenant in the lease, the result is likely to be a letter from the management company, in the first instance.

    Then maybe a letter from their solicitor.

    (The ultimate sanction would be that the lease is forfeited for breach of covenant - i.e. the freeholder repossess your flat.)

    And you'd probably have to pay admin fees for the letters, plus the solicitor's fee.
  • pinkpiglitpinkpiglit Forumite
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    Have a read of this.

    Although unlikely, you could end up in the same situation (or in need of a new GF :rotfl:)

    https://www.bishopandsewell.co.uk/2018/02/07/management-company-forces-leaseholder-to-remove-dog-from-their-flat/
  • m0bovm0bov Forumite
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    Check lease, if nobody sees or hears it then there shouldn't be a problem.
  • need_an_answerneed_an_answer Forumite
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    you cant claim ignorance it is your responsibility to know the contents of the lease.

    Presumably given that the owner of the dog is your girlfriend at some point you may wish to make the temporary visiting of 2 nights a week a more permanent fixture and thus the dog may begin to live there full time.
    if the lease says no pets then that is an enforceable clause should the management company be required to pursue a complaint.
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  • Crumble2018Crumble2018 Forumite
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    We've just moved into a flat, and the lease says absolutely nothing about pets. However, we were sent a welcome pack from the Housing Association last week which states that you must ask permission to keep a pet (at a cost of £60!!) and that Dogs were not allowed at all. Which is amusing as 2 of our direct neighbours each have 2 dogs! Neighbour downstairs has been there 10 years with dogs, so clearly either they don't enforce it, or nobody has complained.
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