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No Dogs Policy

Buyers urged to check Lease provisions carefully; no dogs policy is upheld.

In a recent case the High Court has held that a management company acted reasonably when refusing permission for the flat owners to keep a dog in their flat.

The purchasers bought a flat where the lease prohibited the keeping of pets without the written consent from the management company (VPMC). VPMC had a strict "no pets" policy, reflecting the other tenants' wishes.

VPMC advised the buyers of the policy before the purchasers moved into the flat, however, the purchasers requested formal consent for a dog, which it refused. VPMC informed them that special circumstances would be considered, such as the need for a guide dog, but the purchasers provided no such evidence.

The purchasers moved into the flat with their dog and the management company obtained an injunction for its removal.

On appeal, the issue was whether VPMC had complied with its obligation to deal reasonably with the buyer’s request. The buyers claimed the "no pets" policy amounted to an illegitimate predetermination to reach a particular decision and was unreasonable and irrational.

The High Court held in VPMC's favour, concluding that their policy was not unreasonable or irrational and VPMC had not adopted an unfair process.

It was reasonable, when considering the buyer’s request, to take into account the preferred policy from the majority of tenants. This was a legitimate predisposition towards a particular point of view.

As pet issues often arise in managed areas this decision provides an interesting insight as to its wider application to similar covenants and regulations and the ability for landlords and management companies to exercise its discretion.

If you have any queries in relation to provisions contained in a Lease or the operation of a management company please contact Maitland Walker Solicitors on 01643 707777(Minehead) or 01823 745777 (Taunton).

Case: Victory Place Management Company Ltd v Kuehn & Anor [2018] EWHC 132 (Ch) (30 January 2018).