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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71159
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi ... I would like your professional intepretation and

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Hi ...

I would like your professional intepretation and advice on the following issue please:

In relation to having animals in our apartment, the lease states: ' No animal, bird or reptile shall be kept in the flat if reasonable objection thereto be raised by any other Lessee or Lessor And such animal bird or reptile shall be removed from the said Buildings upon two weeks written prior notice being given to the Lessee'.

On purchasing our property 15 months ago, we had made prior enquiries with both the estate agent selling the property ( who checked with the Managing agents ) and independently, with our lawyer carrying out the conveyancing on our behalf, whether we were allowed animals in the flat, as we had 2 cats at the time.

We were informed by both, that it was ok to have animals as long as they did not cause a nuisance to any other resident, giving them 'good reason' to complain, nor were they allowed to roam free in the communal areas. This did not concern us as our cats are specifically bred to be ' indoor cats', are very placid and we have had no issues or complaints to date in respect of them.

In the last two months we rescued a very small 'toy breed' dog (2 years old), which is well trained and used to living in an apartment and cats. The dog is NEVER left alone in the apartment unattended and very, very, rarely barks. She is quiet in all respects.

I work part time and in my spare time I lead an outdoor lifestyle as I have horses to attend to. The dog accompanies me for both work and pleasure and therefore is not in the apartment most of the daytime. I always carry the dog when in communal areas ( hallway and car park) and I never walk her in the communal grounds.

A neighbour below us has complained, saying that we are in breach of our lease as we need permission to have a dog. He is concerned that the dogs presence will de-value his flat, which he wants to sell next year. He has made no specific complaint about the dogs behaviour to us.

I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards
Jill Wheeler

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

How can I help you with this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Jo

Given the circumstances and details provided, could we be made to remove the dog?

You can only rely on what it says in the lease not hte interpretation of the agent unless, of course, that was given to your solicitor in part of a specific enquiry. On the fact of it, the reply to the specific enquiry that you have just confirms what the lease says.

The other leaseholder is incorrect. You are free to do this as long as there is no reasonable objection and there is none.

On buying the property it would have been prudent to presume that you may have to rehome your animals but you are in the property now so its too late.

Whether they can make you remove the animals or not would depend on whether the objection from the other leaseholder was reasonable. From what you say, I cannot see how his objection could be reasonable. If its just that he doesn't like dogs then he is going to have to live with the fact that other people do.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you.

Please would you clarify whether

1) We are in breach of the lease having moved our dog in, only in the last couple of months, without prior permission

2) Would an occasional bark from the dog be considered a reasonable objection? If not, what would be?

Many thanks

How occasional is occasional please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Say between 1-3 single barks, 2-3 times a day at worst and sometimes none at all as today!
The lease does not say that you need permission.

The lease says that you cannot do it if there is a reasonable objection.

If there is a reasonable objection you then become in breach of the lease if you do not remove the animals within two weeks of getting written notice.

If there are a couple of dog barks per day, I do not think that is unreasonable. If the dog yaps away every time anyone knocks at the door, that might be unreasonable.

It might be unreasonable if it happened during unsociable hours
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