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Ask Jo C. Your Own Question

Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69258
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I recently moved in to a property in London on 4th June 2014.

Customer Question

I recently moved in to a property in London on 4th June 2014. When choosing the property we declared to the agents that we had a cat, and also jointly looked after a dog with my fiancé's father, who goes away on business for a large chunk of the year, and we therefore look after the dog. The agents contacted me again stating they had spoken to the landlady, and confirmed that everything was alright with having the pets at the property. We signed all the relevant papers, paid our money, and moved in to the property. Paragraph 6.46 of the tenancy agreement states:The tenant must not keep any animals or birds or pets of any type in the property without the landlords consent, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld. NOTE: The landlord will not consent to any pets which may cause damage to property and contents, or can be a health hazard or cause a nuisance to neighbours.
In light of the above, we believe we have kept to the agreement of the tenancy.
However, on 9th June 2014, I received a phone call from the landlady stating she had received an email from the property manager, stating there had been two complaints about the dog, and that the dog was NOT permitted to stay at the property in accordance with the leasehold agreement. I then spoke to the estate agents, who confirmed that we should negotiate with the property management company and property manager to resolve the issue. I contacted the property manager on the telephone, and asked him to supply me with the details of the two complaints. He informed me that the first complaint was from another resident who stated that the dog was barking a lot one Saturday morning for a couple of hours, and the other complaint was from another resident who merely stated that they saw the dog entering the property, which in itself is NOT a complaint!! I then asked how we resolve this issue, but was told it could NOT be resolved and that we must get rid of the dog. Below is a record of the conversation I had with Mr Grinter, which I recorded the moment the phone call was terminated so the events were fresh in my mind: ‘I began by introducing myself and explained the reason for my telephone call, that I understand there was a problem with our dog being at the property. He informed me that he had received two complaints from residents, the first of which stated that the dog was barking for a couple of hours on Saturday morning which caused a disturbance, and the second complaint was just that the dog had been spotted going in to the estate. I then asked whether it was possible to resolve this matter and negotiate an agreement, to which he replied 'no, There is no discussion to be had and no meetings will be set up to discuss the matter.' I then asked what recourse we had to address this matter in light of his last answer to which he replied 'there isn't anything you can do'. I then stated that there are a number of animals in the premises and I do not understand why our small dog was therefore being singled out for attention, he said it was because they had had bad experiences in the past with dogs and therefore they had put a blanket ban on dogs being allowed. I stated that this was prejudice and in fact the office of fair trading had a ruling in law stating that it was unfair for any landlord or management company to have a 'NO PETS' policy in any agreement. He seemed to ignore this. I also asked again what we can do to resolve this matter and his response was that we had to get rid of the dog within the next 2 days, otherwise court action would follow. I argued that this was not allowed and invited him to take further action if he wanted as his current actions were not only unreasonable, but also unlawful, and that any judge would ask what reasonable steps have been taken to resolve this matter. He then stated that a previous tenant was taken to court resulting in a £10,000 bill for the owner of the property, and that do I really want to create that scenario for my landlady? I repeated that as this was a civil matter it was not enforceable and explained that I am an enforcement agent (bailiff) and a landlord myself and therefore new the law very well in these matters. He stated that he also new the law and that we still had to get rid of the dog, this time saying we had 7 days to take the dog out of the property. I then began to end the conversation and stated that I would be in touch with him with an update, I then asked him to supply me with the management company name and head office address, he replied 'you can send any letters to me at flat 35'. I said this was not good enough and wanted the company name and address, he again stated why can't you send the letters to me? So I asked again for the details and this time he said the company name was: Dorrington court Property Management, and the head office was his flat! Although I knew this was not correct I did not argue the matter with him, he did also say there are 7 directors within the firm and he was
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I need to know what I can do about the property manager, I feel it is very unfair to tell us to leave the property or get rid of the dog when we have declared this to the estate agents. I would also like to complain about the property manager who has failed to let us try and resolve this, and in my opinion is using bullying tactics.

I do not feel that we should have to leave the property and believe the property management company are acting extremely unreasonably.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
You appear to rent the property. The landlord can of course give you a section 21 notice to vacate the property at the end of the current term which could be six months or 12 months or longer depending on your tenancy agreement.
If the lease does not allow pets then you have the consent of the landlord and it is a problem for the landlord to deal with. He would give you notice to quit at the end of the current term and that will be the end of it.
It is not worth taking someone to court for such a short space of time because, by the time it gets to court, you will no longer be in the property if the landlord gives you notice.
You do not mention whether the lease says that the landlord is not allowed to have anyone in with pets.
The issue here however appears not to be the lease but nuisance. There is an implied covenant in every lease for quiet enjoyment and if the dog is barking for a couple of hours on “Saturday morning” that could be nuisance and breach of covenant for quiet enjoyment. Please bear in mind that “quiet enjoyment” does not necessarily mean quiet as in the context of noise but literally to be left alone in peace. It can however include noise.
I cannot say why your dog has been singled out where is all the others have not been singled out.
If someone is putting a blanket ban on dogs, then that cannot be reasonable and if the lease says that pets can be allowed with consent, it would be unreasonable to simply ban dogs because they happen to be canine!
It is very difficult to answer in detail without knowing the exact wording of the lease but of the lease prohibited dogs or animals this is something for the landlord to worry about and not you.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Jo

many thanks for your response, it is very helpful.

According to the property manager the lease says that pets are allowed as long as no complaints are received about the pet. We have only been here 5 days and the dog barking for one morning is not only unusual, but I cannot see how this is sufficient enough for a complaint to be upheld! We have been in two rental properties before this and never had one complaint!!

The he second compliant is someone just observing that the dog was going in to the property, so I cannot see how this is a complaint at all.... Just an observation!! This all seems to be to be a bit malicious as there is obviously one or two people who just do not want a dog in the property, and have not even approached us or given us a chance at all. We are very responsible dog owners and have never had any problems at all. I also find the property managers stance and attitude about this matter to be completely unreasonable and quite frankly bullying. I have drafted a letter of complaint to the board of directors of the company, and am urging them to consider mediation or come to some kind of agreement. To be quite honest, I am perturbed with the attitude shown regarding this matter and believe there should be some kind of way for us to fight our corner. We also have the right to lI've here without such hassle and moving in to this property has cost us a great deal of money, so we really do not want to be asked to leave after 6 or 12 months, it was always our intention to stay here for the long haul.

i look forward to your response and further help with this matter.

kind regards

alex XXXXX

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
What else would you like to know?

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