Can flat dwellers keep dogs?

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Can flat dwellers keep dogs?

It depends. As with so many questions concerning flats, the answer is normally in the lease. It may contain an absolute prohibition on pets, in which case the leaseholder won’t be able to keep a dog. Or it may be silent on the subject of pets, in which case they will be able to keep a dog.

But what about where it states that the leaseholder can’t keep a pet unless the management company consents to it? And what if the management company, having asked the other leaseholders if they want pets in the block, refuses consent?

The Property Disputes team at Longmores have recently acted in just such a case and were successful both at trial and at the appeal to the High Court.

Longmores acted for the management company which was run by the residents and had a policy of not permitting pets unless there were exceptional circumstances, such as a medical need. The leaseholders in question bought the penthouse apartment and, only after buying it, sought consent for their dog. When the management company refused consent, they moved the dog in anyway on legal advice from their barrister that the refusal of consent was unreasonable and therefore unenforceable.

Longmores, on behalf of the management company, sought an injunction requiring them to remove the dog and were successful at the trial in February 2017. The leaseholders appealed. Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, heard the appeal in January 2018 and found for the management company. He made clear that whilst it would not be legitimate to predetermine the outcome of an application to keep a pet, there is nothing unreasonable about having a policy that pets will not be permitted save in exceptional circumstances, and if no special circumstances are demonstrated, to refuse consent for the pet.

The full judgment can be read here.

For advice on any leasehold or management company issues, contact John Wagstaffe in our specialist Property Disputes team.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.