At Barrett and Co we often come across the issue of household pets and the incoming buyers may have to make a judgment call on whether they will purchase knowing that consent could be reasonably withheld.
The High Court upheld an injunction requiring the defendants to remove their dog (Vinnie) from their flat in a gated development.
The lease prohibited the defendants from keeping pets without the written consent of the tenants’ management company (VPMC). VPMC had advised the defendants before they purchased the flat that the policy of the company,reflecting the other tenat’s wishes, was not to allow pets. The defendant did request formal consent and VPMC refused but said it would consider special circumstances, such as the need for a guide dog. No such evidence was received by VPMC and therefore when VPMC were aware that the dog was now residing at the flat, VPMC applied and obtained an injunction to remove the dog.
The defendants appealed and the High Court considered whether VPMC acted reasonably in dealing with the request for a pet to reside. The Court held that VPMC’s policy was not unreasonable and VPMC had not adopted an unfair process. It was decided that the company acted rationally when taking into consideration the policy preferred by the majority of the tenants in the development. VPMC was also thought to be acting reasonably as the company would have taken into account any medical evidence if provided.
The decision is interesting, not only for pet owners but for flat owners in general, as there may be similar covenants and regulations that have no express guarantee on how the landlord/management company will exercise its discretion.
Case: Victory Place Management Company Ltd v Kuehn & Anor (2018) EWHC 132