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pippay
27-08-2006, 04:50 AM
OK .. two points really but they are linked so here goes...

I'm currently living in one of the ground floor flats in a block of 4 owned by the same LL.

MY AST and that of all the other tenants clearly states no pets (meaning cats, dogs etc but apparently not gerbils..)

We each have exclusive use of our individual gardens (not communal gardens) and like most residential areas have cats, birds, squirrels, hedgehogs and such like visiting throughout the various seasons.

A couple of months ago a new tenant moved into the ground floor flat next to me and a couple of months previously there was a new tenant in the flat above her.

The upstairs tenant started leaving out water bowls a the top of the garden and a water thingy on a stand for the birds ..

Then the downstairs tenant started putting out hanging fat balls and nuts and stuff for the squirrels, (who soon got those down!) and birds, and also a small plate of food for the hedgehog at night.

Then a cat came visiting more regularly than the others .. seemingly a stray .. but we've since found out that it has an owner elsewhere but has "left home" cos it was being beaten up by their new ginger tom and the owner has just recently gone on holiday leaving this cat with no shelter or food, so my neighbour was feeding the cat at the top end of the garden each day. For those of you who know cat's behaviour, they choose us, we don't choose them!!

When the Agent came to do an inspection of the upstairs flat she saw the relevant feeding materials in the garden of the ground floor flat .. which I can honestly say is NOT alot - and then phoned us all and ordered us not to feed any animal, wild or domestic, any more.

I sleep with the windows open, summer and winter, and they are the type where any cat could get in if it wanted to, when left open. And I like to keep my back door open from the moment I wake to the moment I go to bed, weather permitting.

Anyway, recently this cat keeps entering my flat (and the next door flats, ground floor and upstairs) whenever I either open the back door or leave a window open, obviously looking for shelter and food and on occasion, soaking wet through (and she's "in kitten" at the moment). Other cats have also entered the flats sometimes but theyve just come in, sniffed around and then left - obviously being fed at their own home.

My questions are:

1. Is the Agent within their rights to dictate whether or not a tenant can choose to feed wildlife in their garden which they have exclusive rights to
(especially as no-one else is objecting to it) or is the Agent being unreasonable? Is this directive, in fact, interuppting our quiet enjoyment of the property?

2. Although it isn't my cat, and I don't encourage it indoors, (especially as I'm movong soon) I do feel, as my co-tenants do, a moral responsibility to at least ensure it is fed (outside) until such time as the owner comes back and we can approach him about the cat's future long term welfare. Would the Agent have any legal stance to say that any of us are keeping pets in this scenario (I've woken during the night to feel something heavy on my feet making loud vibrating noises !!) and would this in any way put us in breach of the terms of our AST.

From what I can gather the Agents staff member is relatively new. She seems to be pretty hard-nosed about this and I have the feeling she is the type who would just "pop" round to see if she could catch one of us out.

Your opinions are, as always, very welcome and although I'm moving soon my co-tenants will be staying so I'm asking on their behalf as much as mine.

Worldlife
27-08-2006, 05:21 AM
Pippay I think you need to examine the terms of your AST on some of these matters.

For example our Lawpack one stipulates the tenant's obligations include:-


Not without the Landlord's prior consent (consent not to be withheld unreasonably) allow or keep any pet or any kind of animal at the Property


Not to do anything on or at the Property which may become a nuisance or annoyance to any other occupiers of the Property or owners or occupiers of nearby premises

Wild animals are not pets and neither are feral cats.

It would therefore seem unreasonable of the agent to object to the feeding of birds and other wildlife. OTH if leaving food and water around, particularly at night, is attracting feral cats and possibly rats then there is obviously a risk of nuisance and annoyance to neighbours. Our local authority from time to time puts up notices on the village pond "Please do not feed the birds - overfeeding is causing a rat problem"

Animal welfare issues are the responsibility of the RSPCA and not the landlord or yourself. If a neglected or unwanted cat is causing you a nuisance then that needs to be tackled with the owner. It might be possible for you to put some temporary screening over windows you leave open at night through which the cat is gaining entry. A report by you in writing to the RSPCA would certainly exonerate you should there be any future allegation that you were keeping pets on the property.

Might it be possible to have a meeting of all tenants to discuss these problems and develop a policy that you can jointly present to the agent/landlord for agreement.

nick..
27-08-2006, 07:39 AM
...and then phoned us all and ordered us not to feed any animal, wild or domestic, any more.

You vill not feed zeee animals !!!

Christ, its like living in Nazi Germany

MrShed
27-08-2006, 08:22 AM
The simple answer to question 1 is NO. Which means you need to answer to question 2 :p.

However, what you must bear in mind is that even if you do things that don't breach your tenancy, or even come close, the landlord can evict at the end of the fixed term with no reason, and there is nothing you can do about this.

pippay
27-08-2006, 09:00 AM
Our AST does say something similar to yours .. but wildlife is going to come in the garden whether we allow them to or not, feed them or not .. and I really cant see the harm in doing what so many other people do and give them a little helping hand especially in severe temperatures (like water during the hot spell) or adverse conditions, that would provoke this type of dictatorial outcry by the agent. It would be different if we were all leaving so much food out there we'd set up a nature reserve but there are no more animals around than there were before ..

I really just wanted to know if the Agent was being acting beyond their authority and had any legal right to stop us from leaving out food for wildlife, as no problems have presented themselves nor any complaints been made, other than by the Agent themselves.



Wild animals are not pets and neither are feral cats. It isn't a feral cat, Vic, it's a domesticated one. - feral cats are totally wild and have never been domesticated or had domesticated genealogy. If it were a feral cat, we wouldn't have so much of a problem, as we wouldn't have an owner to deal with. The last thing we want is to upset a private owner of a neighbouring property by not giving him an opportunity to resolve the situation, as we don't then want to be placed in a situation that makes living with our neighbours tenuous.

It would therefore seem unreasonable of the agent to object to the feeding of birds and other wildlife. OTH if leaving food and water around, particularly at night, is attracting feral cats and possibly rats then there is obviously a risk of nuisance and annoyance to neighbours. Our local authority from time to time puts up notices on the village pond "Please do not feed the birds - overfeeding is causing a rat problem" [COLOR="Red"]Cats, of all the domesticated animals, are the ones more likely to wander through other people's gardens and as we don't have any, its more likely that we would be the ones doing the objecting about nuisance or annoyance when this happens, than our neighbours! None of us tenants mind and the gardens and properties affected all belong to the tenants! I can understand that in areas where there are ponds and lakes, rats could pose a problem, but we certainly haven't had any evidence of rats at all .. not even a little Mickey and the only nuisance I'm experiencing is trying to reclaim my sunlounger from another cat that likes using it to sunbathe ... COLOR]
Animal welfare issues are the responsibility of the RSPCA and not the landlord or yourself. Agreed but given that we know the owner is away for only a (relatively) short time, we are willing to feed the animal until he comes back and can satisfy us what is happening to it in the long term. Then, if we are not happy or if the situation continues, our intention is to inform the RSPCA, in the cat's best interests, bearing in mind she's about to drop in approx. 3 weeks time If a neglected or unwanted cat is causing you a nuisance then that needs to be tackled with the owner. It might be possible for you to put some temporary screening over windows you leave open at night through which the cat is gaining entry. I'm leaving soon ( if the LA ever find me anywhere!) so I certainly dont want to go to the expense of putting up temporary screening and it doesn't resolve having the door open during the day .. A report by you in writing to the RSPCA would certainly exonerate you should there be any future allegation that you were keeping pets on the property. You've given me an idea .. I may put our concerns in a letter to the owner with a copy to the Agent or better still, hand it over to the Agent to deal with and she can upset the owner all on her own :D

Might it be possible to have a meeting of all tenants to discuss these problems and develop a policy that you can jointly present to the agent/landlord for agreement. We have discussed it already and are in agreement but we may well show a united front by making proposals to the LL.. after all, it isn't really the Agent's decision to make, is it?

MrShed
27-08-2006, 09:25 AM
I really just wanted to know if the Agent was being acting beyond their authority and had any legal right to stop us from leaving out food for wildlife, as no problems have presented themselves nor any complaints been made, other than by the Agent themselves.

Just answered :S no they havent.

pippay
27-08-2006, 09:29 AM
I'm confused here Mr Shed .. is that NO, the Agent is being not being unreasonable or NO we are not having our quiet enjoyment disturbed. ????

I hear what you say about the S21 - it can happen anyway, in or out of the fixed term and actually does't affect me personally but with the amount of void periods he has between tenants (3 months ++ each time) I'm just wondering whether he'd prefer tenants who pay the rent on time and look after the property or lose at least £1800 per flat in voids by getting rid of tenants whose only "crime" is to assist nature where nature already exists .. in the garden.

If I was a LL I know which "heads" would be making my decisions and that would be my common sense and financial ones .. but I suppose everyone is different.


The simple answer to question 1 is NO. Which means you need to answer to question 2 :p.

However, what you must bear in mind is that even if you do things that don't breach your tenancy, or even come close, the landlord can evict at the end of the fixed term with no reason, and there is nothing you can do about this.

pippay
27-08-2006, 09:31 AM
Can you explain why? if the only people it is affecting are the Agents?


Just answered :S no they havent.

MrShed
27-08-2006, 10:10 AM
NO they have no legal right to do anything. If you read your question, the answer is quite self explanatory.

pippay
27-08-2006, 10:23 AM
:D I like you Mr Shed .. you must forgive me for being so obtuse this morning ..

MrShed
27-08-2006, 10:35 AM
Haha :) I shall let you off this time!! Don't let it happen again or it's detention! But in all seriousness, the LA can do nothing. But, the S21 is no small worry, any one thing you do to annoy the landlord/LA, such as defy them in this way(even though it may be unfair, which I think it certainly is), is one more thing than their potential next tenants. LA/landlords have no loyalty to any particular tenant 90% of the time.

Worldlife
27-08-2006, 13:29 PM
Seems to me the answer is for Pippay to seek the consent of the Agent to keep one small dog to chase away the non feral pregnant cat.

Just thinking of another issue. A pregnant non-feral cat has her kittens on your property. If the alleged owner of cat denies responsibility (or the cat abandons the litter or dies) to whom do the kittens belong?

Obviously the kittens belong to the queen - (not necessarily Her Majesty who prefers swans and whales)

Would the landlord or agent have any legal entitlement to claim possession or disposal of the abandoned kittens?