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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hello Alex, you answered a question for me before regarding

Customer Question

Hello Alex, you answered a question for me before regarding my friend having a problem with keeping two small dogs and her Housing Association having a No Pets Policy. She wrote a letter and has now had a response, so would like to get further advice from you please. Thanks Tracie
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

Hello Tracie - yes I remember. How can I help today?

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

Hello Alex, Thank you for your advice on this before, but I now have further questions on this. We wrote a letter to the housing association and my friend admitted having two small dogs. I am going to attach a copy of the letter here for you to read.

Full Size Image
Full Size Image
. I hope you are able to read this, as not sure as this as an attachment? My friend's condition is progressively worsening as she seems to be suffering from severe depression and her doctor has now put her forward for counselling sessions, although this has only just started. The housing association have now responded to her letter, which advised as follows ' 'Firstly, I am sorry to hear about your various persona issues you have been experiencing over the last few years however, as explained in my letter dated 24th April 2014, the Trust did not grant you permission when you originally requested to have the dogs in 2009 (this was in fact a separate incident whereby my friend took in a homeless dog and did request permission to keep it, which they refused, whereupon she then had to give this dog away...so this is NOT relating to the two dogs she has now). Please be advised that the Trust cannot change this decision and that you are still required to re-house the dogs. The only criteria where the Trust would offer discretion would be if the dogs were guide dogs. I can confirm that you also stated that you were aware of L&Q's policy of NO PETS however, you failed to adhere to this and I can confirm that you are currently in breach of the terms and conditions of your tenancy. I can also confirm that your previous Neighbourhood Services Officer and I have witnessed the dogs barking on a frequent basis which further supports the allegations that the dogs are causing a noise nuisance within the block. The Trust has not been made aware of any other residents in the block owning dogs but if you wish you can provide me with the addresses so I can also advise them that dogs are not permitted within flats. The dogs will need to be re-housed however, in the circumstances I have extended the dates from 24th May 2014 to 23rd June 2014. If it is found that you have failed to remove the dogs by that date L&Q will serve you with a Notice of Seeking Possession of the above property as well as applying for an injunction to have the dogs permanently removed'. As you can imagine, my friend who is already in a very low and depressive state, is absolutely devastated by this! Furthermore, it does not state anywhere on their website regarding their pets policy, that the only pets that can be allowed are guide dogs. In fact, my friend enquired with another neighbour from a neighbouring block who has a dog that she keeps in a flat also if she had managed to gain permission and apparently she had! So again, as you advised before, they do not seem to be being consistent in their stance on this. I would really appreciate your further advice on this and what my friend can possibly do, to still appeal against this? I look forward to hearing from you asap. Many thanks. Tracie

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

Additionally, my friend is also going to see a Line Manager at London and Quadrant this Wednesday, so it would be very helpful to get your feedback on all of this. She also now has a letter that has been given to her by the counselling pyschologist stating that she is suffering from severe depression.

Alex Watts :

OK - how many other people have dogs in the block(s)?

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

No one else in her particular block, but there are other dogs in neighbouring blocks, one of which she has been advised was given permission by the Housing Association to keep and she also lives in a flat without a garden.

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

Addiitonally, the dog is NOT a guide dog.

Alex Watts :

Ok - so the same circumstances?

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

Yes exactly.

Alex Watts :

And they dont appear to address that in the response?

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

We have tried to approach this from the angle (if you have read the letter sent to them) that her dogs are 'emotional support' and that it would be extremely detrimental should she have to try and re-house them, especially for her own mental well being. Plus her mental well being is further being affected by now the possible threat of eviction!

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

No they have not addressed the issue that there is at least one other tenant in a neighbouring block that was given permission to keep a dog.

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

In fact the Neighbourhood Officer has only stressed that they allow this only should the dog be a guide dog, although it does not state this on their website.

Alex Watts :

What does their website say about pets?

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

I will try and copy and paste the wording for you now. Just a minute.

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- : Can I Keep A Pet?
If you live in a house or a property with its own garden, you may keep a cat or a dog without getting our permission.
If you live in a flat or maisonette or other home without its own garden, you will need our written permission to keep a cat or a dog, unless it is a guide or hearing dog.
If we agree to let you keep a cat or dog, we will ask you to sign a request to keep a pet. This asks you to confirm things such as:
  • You will keep your dog on a lead in communal areas;
  • You will not let your dog foul the grounds but if there are any incidents, you will clear them up immediately;
  • You will make sure your dog does not cause a nuisance to other staff, residents or visitors; and
  • You will keep your dog fully vaccinated and regularly wormed and treated for fleas.
You may keep other small pets, such as small caged birds, animals or fish, without getting our permission.
Alex Watts :

Do they have a policy document relating to this, or just on the website?

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

Plus we are now doing a letter to all the tenants to ask if they can confirm that they are happy for the dogs to reside in the block and that they are not a noise nuisance or any type of nuisance to the residents, staff or visitors to the block.

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

No this is just what is stated on their website.

Alex Watts :

Have you asked for a copy of their policy?

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

No not as yet.

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

Here is the wording within their secured tenancy agreement:

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

f) Pets
1. If you live in a house or property with its own
garden you may keep a cat or a dog without
getting our permission.
2. If you live in a flat or maisonette or other home
without its own garden you will need our written
permission to keep a cat or a dog unless it is a
guide or hearing dog.
3. You may keep other small pets e.g. small caged
animals and birds or fish at the property without
getting our permission.
4. You, your family, or anyone living with you
or visiting your home must not do any of
the following:
– Keep any animal in the property which requires
our written permission without first getting
that permission;
– Keep any animals for commercial breeding
purposes;
– Allow any animal you keep at the property to
cause a nuisance to anyone in the local area,
including our staff, agents or contractors;
– Allow any animal you keep at the property to foul
in your home or in the shared areas or outside
the property on, for example, roads, footpaths
or play areas in the local area;
– Keep livestock such as chickens, ducks, geese,
or goats without our permission.
– Keep any unsuitable or dangerous animals.

Alex Watts :

Thank you.

Alex Watts :

But do they have a policy document?

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

I am not aware of one or where we would find this?

Alex Watts :

Ok - you need to ask for one

Alex Watts :

This sets out what they would and would not consider with a request

JACUSTOMER-daxilb7g- :

OK will ask my friend to ask the Line Manager for this on Wednesday? Is there anything else you can recommend?

Alex Watts :

If they have not complied with their own policy then it can be challanged.

Alex Watts :

Now there are 2 choices here:

Alex Watts :

The Association will seek possession based on the pets

Alex Watts :

So she can do several things

Alex Watts :

1) Wait and defend it on the basis others have pets and it is not an issue

Alex Watts :

2) Seek a Judicial Review of this proposal and fight off any possession before it even enters court

Alex Watts :

1)

Alex Watts :

This option - she waits until proceedings are issued, lodges a defence, then a Judge will hear a trial as to why possession should be given and then for her, as to why it should not

Alex Watts :

2)

Alex Watts :

Judicial Review is where a High Court Judge considers the Association decision and decides whether it is a legal and resonable

Alex Watts :

A Judge would take into account any policy document

Alex Watts :

The Judge can agree with the decision or remit it back for further consideration

Alex Watts :

She may get legal aid for these options, depending on the circumstances

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.

Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.

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