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LondonlawyerJ, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 818
Experience:  Solicitor with over 15 years experience.
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I own my flat years. Lease states no pets. Have had a dog months. Receiv

Customer Question

I own my flat for two years. Lease states no pets. Have had a dog for three months. Received a letter stating no dogs and 30 days to remove dog. What can I do to fight this. If I do not get rid of the dog what happens next? She is never alone. Goes with me to work. Does not bark. Has made no mess in the flat, which I own, or in shared areas. Someone from property management noticed me walking her outside recently. No complaints made that I am aware of.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I am a solicitor with 20 years experience. I will try to help you with this.
Clearly you are in beach of contract but if no harm is being caused then there is not a great deal that the owners can do. You refer to a management company, Who employs them? Who owns the freehold?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The lease company is One Housing. They are responsible for taking our service charges each month and maintaining the property. There are 200+ flats over two buildings. I share my floor with two other flats. One neighbour likes the dog with his son the other flat is mostly empty on short term rents. No issues ever with anyone in complex.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I beleive the freehold is managed by that company.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
Do they own the freehold?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't know if they own it or manage it. I pay ground rent each year. Lease is between me and Citystyle living (Slough station) limited.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
1 Clearly you are in breach of your lease condition.
2 Th freeholders can take action against you to forfeit the lease. This would involve either getting a finding in the tribunal that you were keeping a pet or an admission from you to that effect. Then they would have to serve an appropriate notice and seek an order for forfeiture.
3 They would not necessarily succeed in this application and it would be very costly.
4 You should check your lease to see if it includes the right for the freeholders to forfeit for breach of this clause. If it doesn't do so they would only have a remedy in compensation and can only get that if they can show some loss or harm.
5 So what to do: you can call their bluff and write to them seeking permission to keep a pet. They will likely refuse but you can try. Then if they do refuse you can call their bluff and see if they do anything.
6 If they do you could then state that you wish to apply to vary the lease to allow for a pet. This also is an expensive and difficult process.
If they refuse to amend the lease then you could argue that if there is a clause stating no pets without permission then there is an implied clause that that consent should not be with held unreasonably. Further, their refusal is unreasonable. You could also argue that you have got or kept the dog partly because of their failure to make the block secure and it is not reasonable for them to enforce one minor clause of the lease when they are in breach of a more significant one.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
What does forfeiture of the lease involve? If they did that, what happens to the flat which I own?I presume that is the worst case scenario, what steps and general timelines, for them to get a case, and push forward with things?
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 2 years ago.
Forfeiture means you lose your interest in he property. It is unlikely on this situation as the breach is not that serious and you would be able to remedy it at any point by moving the dog out.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Who owns the flat (interest in the property) at that point - which seems like the worst case scenario? What would happen to my mortgage and equity I own?