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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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FAO: A bit of history on the "dogs in communal areas" issue.

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FAO: JimA bit of history on the "dogs in communal areas" issue. Firstly, I will say whenever we have an issue in our building I have always attempted to communicate with other residents before speaking to any of the management company directors. However, most of the time people just continue doing what they want with no consideration for the rest of us.There is a communal garden which we can directly access from our ground floor flat. The Maintenance Director is also an owner of several flats and lives in the building in one of the ground floor flats. When we moved into the building there were no dog owners (not that I have a problem with people owning dogs in the building). However, last summer I was in the communal garden and a dog was allowed into the garden unattended with no leash. Naturally I was surprised as I had never seen a dog in the building or garden before and of course, the dog approached me and started barking. Naturally the dog was curious and just wanted to play, but I told the owner (the Maintenance Director) several times I don't want to play with his dog and that he needs to be put on a leash. Fair is fair, there was a period of time when the dog was put on a long, leash fixed to the ground but this has not been the case for over a year now. That same summer we had just cleaned our flat and had our back door open to allow the floor to dry quicker. Not long after this the dog entered our flat and we only discovered he was inside when he almost went into one of the bedrooms. It wasn't considered important to the owners as there was no apology when I told them about it. So during warm weather when we want to open our back door we have always had to put a chair in the doorway just to prevent any dogs coming into our flat. Obviously, this is ridiculous, unacceptable and very unfair.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome back to JustAnswer.

Thank you for the question. The lease terms are likely to say that pets are not permitted - it is a usual clause in a leasehold property given the fact animals can cause damage, the buildings insurance could be void, hygiene reasons, excessive noise, etc. Sometimes freeholders can allow a pet if there is a good reason, such as an owner needs one for medical reasons.
The dog you mention should be leashed as the communal area is not private property - if the dog were to bite someone, the owner would be liable under the dog legislation and the Police could also become involved (the dog could be destroyed and the owner prosecuted). So there is a risk there if the dog is off a lead.
It is entirely unfair that the dog entered your property too.
The owner could face forfeiture proceedings due to breach of the lease - meaning they would face losing their property. The terms of the lease would need to be checked but even if they did allow for pets, the fact the pet was off a lead / entered your property is unacceptable too.
A lawyer's letter could be the way forwards to deal with this - and forfeiture could be applied for, to the First Tier (Property) Tribunal which is a risk for the owner.

I hope this answers the question. If you have any follow up questions then please do let me know.

Many thanks,
Jim

Just a final note that I am free most days and would be happy to assist with any other queries you may have.

Best wishes,

Jim

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