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Pets in Flats: A Question of Consent

Sarah Reynolds, a senior associate in the property team at Goodman Derrick LLP, comments

The vast majority of long residential leases contain a raft of obligations regulating the use of the property. One such common regulation is the keeping of pets. Some leases contain an absolute prohibition on pets, whilst others allow pets to be kept but only with the prior written consent of usually either the landlord or management company. If the latter, is the landlord or management company then duty bound to consider and respond to said request reasonably? Such a point was considered in the recent High Court case of Victory Place Management Company Limited v Kuehn & Anor [2018] EWHC 132 (Ch).

The proceedings involved an appeal by Mr and Mrs Kuehn against an injunction in the County Court requiring the removal of their beloved five-year-old Yorkshire cross Maltese Terrier, Vinnie, from a £1m apartment which they had recently purchased and then refurbished in a gated development in Limehouse, East London. The management company of the development, Victory Place Management Company (VPMC), comprised of an elected board of directors who were themselves leaseholders.

Each lease on the development contained the following covenant:- “No dog, bird, cat or other animal or reptile shall be kept in the [property] without the written consent of [VPMC]”.

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