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Stuart J
Stuart J, Property Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 24626
Experience:  Senior Partner at Berkson Wallace
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My daughter has signed a draft tenancy and passed refs to

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Hi my daughter has signed a draft tenancy and passed refs to rent a flat from 17th september. the flat clearly had a cat living there before hand. My daughter asked the agency to forward an email to the landlord asking him if it would be ok for her to look after my dog -occasionally - not full time - in accordance with the clause in the tenancy agreement that says you may not keep animals without the landlords written permission which shall not be unreasonably delayed etc... . The agency have refused to forward the email saying that he will reject her application of they do. Where does she stand? She has paid £150 deposit and her aunt has agreed to be a guarantor but as i said she hasnt moved in yet. i believe she will have final paperwork to sign when she moves in but she is now wondering whether she should pull out as the agency have also said a dog isn't even allowed to visit - which as far as i can see isnt lawful. thanks
JA: What steps has your daughter taken so far? Has she prepared or filed any paperwork?
Customer: she has signed a draft tenancy and passed referencing. and her aunt has agreed to be a guarantor
JA: Where is the flat located?
Customer: Bedford
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I think y daughter would prefer to walk away if they will not allow a dog occsionally. the flat has its own entrance and is a basement flat so there is no reason a dog shouldn't be ok there. the landlord owns the business above which we were only told yesterday. so i suppose she would like to know whether she is now committed to the tenancy if they dont budge on the dog, and whther the agency is obliged to forward her request to the landlord!

Hello. Thank you for the question. It is my pleasure to assist your with this today.

Please bear with me and I will be online and off-line from time to time and therefore, may be delayed getting back to you. You will receive an email when I reply.

Has she pointed out that it is clear there was a pet before?

and what do you mean occasionally re dog?

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Hi thanks for your reply. When we viewed the property there was a note in the window from the cat(!) saying they were moving to a bigger place . And the flat smelled of cat pee - (wooden floors and a deep clean will hopefully get rid of this) The agent also commented on the smell . Yes, she has pointed this out to them in her email . Occasionally will be at most once or twice a month overnight. or even just for the day. The agents have refused to even pass her request on and have said she should have mentioned it before 'committing' to the tenancy. Incidentally the landlord wanted to meet my daughter who is 27 but looks a lot younger as apparently he was concerned she would be having parties. This has now been put off as they couldnt find a mutually convenient date and she currently lives an hour away and is tied to work .
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
To summarise can my daughter walk away without being committed to any more fees? She has only paid £150 holding deposit . I think if she can do this she will . Bearing in mind my sister has agreed to guarantor. Also if the landlord 'rejects her application' as they said he would if they forward her email - they may be obliged to refund the deposit ....? (which would work in her favour) I think the attitude of the agent today has put her off as she was pretty rude!

A blanket refusal on animals.  All of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is being on an English dictionary definition of the word “unreasonable”.

However a landlord can charge an extortionate amount of money for complete redecoration and cleaning of all soft furnishings when the animal moves out because you may want to to be allergy free for any new tenant coming in.

What is important here is whether she has the landlord’s signed tenancy agreement because until she has that there is no tenancy.

As such, she is free to walk away provided they give her the deposit back but she is unable to enforce moving in.

Don’t be at all surprised if the landlord/tenant refuses to return the holding deposit in which case, give them until 4 PM next Friday (in writing) after which she will issue Small Claims Court proceedings without further notice.

Don’t hang around. The new Moneyclaim beta system is easy to use:

the new system is much better than the old government Gateway system.

You can prepare the proceedings now, at your leisure, save them, and then just pay the fee and press the button when the deadline in your letter before action, expires.

It's then just a case of following the court process and responding to any emails that you receive.

Thank you for letting me assist you with your legal question.  I am glad that I was able to help.

I am not certain whether that answers the question for you or not, but I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

It will be my pleasure to help you again either further with this or any future questions you have

Kind regards

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Thanks for your reply. Do you think that the agency can speak for the landlord or are they obliged to pass the request on to him? I was thinking that if her rejects application then she will be mor likely to claim the security deposit back than if she walks away. Im confused as to why a cat was allowed to be there but they are now saying no to an occasional dog. A money claim might cost more than the amount to be claimed which is £150. The main thing is that she hasnt received any physical paperwork and hasnt actually even signed the draft tenancy. No other deposit has been paid. I am even prepared to forget about the security deposit as long as they cant enforce the tenanacy.

The agents are the agents of the landlord, ergo, they can speak for the landlord without reference to him provided of course that is within the remit/retainer between them.

We will never know the logic as to why there was a cat but now no dog.

The fee for a GBP150 money claim is GBP35 and provided the claim is successful, (and I have no reason to think it should not be) that would be recovered along with the GBP150.

The fees which are landlord can charge are now limited by the Tenant Fees Act 2019

Here is the government webpage on exactly this subject

Please note that these are the charges from the landlord or the agent to the tenant.

Sometimes, the agent will charge a higher fee to the landlord and if they do that, then the landlord is responsible for the difference.

The landlord cannot pass it on to the tenant.

The reservation fee is, as you will read, refundable.

If your daughter has not signed a tenancy agreement, then she is at liberty to walk away.

Stuart J and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Could I ask another question - apologies if I am going over the same points. We plan to speak to the agents this morning or on Monday if the appropriate person is not there today. Can a landlord/agent refuse to allow a dog to even visit the property (ie not overnight)? They have said in one of their responses that if they forward my daughter's email to the landlord (which asks him about the occasional dog) - that he would reject her application - I presume that implies that an agreement has not yet been signed? Or does the landlord have a right to terminate at this stage even if it was signed? We are almost certain nothing has been signed except the permission for referencing to take place which was done by a company called Goodlord.
What is the interpretation of the following pet clause: [ The Tenant agrees not to keep any animals or birds (whether domestic or otherwise) in the Property without the Landlord’s prior written consent, which will not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.] Does it mean that the landlord/agent must give a reasonable reason to not allow a pet? Or does it mean that the response must be given in a reasonable timeframe? or both! Thanks, know this is going over the same ground a bit but just for clarification. I am a bit concerned that they will say she has made a commitment and that they have a guarantor

You ask whether the landlord/agent can refuse to allow a doctor visit the property?  I’m not certain how they would “police” that.  If you just do it, then it it’s a fait accompli.  They cannot guard the house and standing your way otherwise it would end up as firstly breach of covenant for quiet enjoyment and secondly harassment and thirdly probably end in a breach of the peace.

Once the agreement is signed exchanged and she has the landlord’s agreement, the landlord cannot terminate the agreement (even if she has not moved in) without making an application to court for an order for possession otherwise its unlawful eviction.  If she simply moves in with the animal, that’s the situation that she is in, he has to take her to court for breach of the tenancy agreement.

The guarantor is on the hook also for any costs of course.

I’ve already covered the “commitments” angle

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Thanks for your help. All is resolved now and they returned the holding deposit....

It was my pleasure to assist you. Please come back if anything else crops up and needs clarification.
Thank you for trusting Just Answer, and of course me,  with your legal problem.