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View Full Version : AST tenant has acquired cat; Agreement prohibits pets



hanamck
21-09-2006, 09:55 AM
Hi there,

I'm a tennant with someone else in an AST for 12 month and we've been living in a property since April, now we recently got a cat and didn't tell the landlord as on the contract it says no pets unless you speak with them I think and it's a very well trained 9 year old indoor house cat that never damages anything, but she came round unexpectedly the other day and saw the cat and now says she doesn't want it living there as in her experience "they p1ss and sh1t everywhere!" - this is ridiculous and so is she. There is no way I am getting rid of the cat and I want to know what she can do realistically to us?

She also comes round to our house when we're not there "to pick up mail" and invades our space which I think is not right. She basically treats it as her house even though we're in there and it's ours. Now also, we recently had a burglary and had to get the locks changed as they stole my handbag with a set of my keys in it, so what I also want to know is that do we legally have to give her a set of keys as we're fed up of all the constant coming round.

Answers to both of my questions would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Hannah

MrShed
21-09-2006, 10:54 AM
- First question - she can do nothing, depending on how the term in the AST is worded. Can you paste exactly what the term about pets says? It is an unfair term to have a blanket ban on pets. IF it IS a valid term, she can technically begin eviction proceedings based upon breach of contract. However, it is unlikely that it is written in such a way as to make it valid. Bear in mind however, that if you want to stay in the property after April, this is now extremely unlikely - at this point she will be able to evict without reason.

- Keys - no you do not have to give her a set, and indeed I would refuse to do so based upon what you have said.

hanamck
21-09-2006, 20:06 PM
Hi there,

Thanks ever so much for your reply earlier.

I have now got the contract and what it says about pets is:

Not to keep any animals or birds or other living creature on the Property without the Landlord's written consent if granted to be revocable at will by the Landlord.

Also, there was another point I wasn't sure what it meant and was wondering if you could help me understand this:

"The landlord may re-enter the Property and immediately thereupon the tenancy shall absolutely determine without prejudice to the other rights and remedies of the Landlord if the Tenant has not complied with any oblligation in the Agreement or should the Rent be in arrears by more than forteen days whether formally demanded or not."

So if you could see what you decide on the cat point and also the above that'd be great.

Thanks in advance!

Hannah

MrShed
21-09-2006, 20:17 PM
I'll keep it short...both of those terms are unfair, and you can safely ignore either.

hanamck
21-09-2006, 20:26 PM
Hi, thanks for the reply. So real quick. How can you ignore them, is there some kind of standard contrct rights it must follow?

H :)

MrShed
21-09-2006, 20:31 PM
Yep...the OFT(Office Of Fair Trading) decide what is fair and what isn't for use in AST's. The first term is unfair, as it impacts upon your quiet enjoyment of the property. The second is because it contravenes your statutory rights as a tenant.

This leaflet should make interesting reading http://www.oft.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/36623FC6-E9BC-4D9A-B4BF-39191E06F802/0/oft381.pdf

:)

Ericthelobster
21-09-2006, 22:44 PM
Probably also counts being unfair through not being written in "Plain English", so you can understand what it means! (seriously)

Paul_f
22-09-2006, 10:31 AM
You do still have to have a "Forfeiture" clause in your AST but the one posted is clearly poorly worded. It must refer to the tenant's rights in that possession can only be granted by a successful application to the court by the landlord.

With regard to the cat the clause should have read something like this:

"The tenant may not keep any pet on the premises without the landlord's prior written permission, but whose permission will not be unreasonable withheld". This means that you can't be refused a "reasonable" request so you're in the clear.

I also don't like the fact your landlord enters the premises illegally as they have no right of entry without your express permission. By all means change the locks and don't even give the landlord a spare unless you have a written undertaking that it will not be used except in emergency. No undertaking = no key for the landlord! Oh! And charge her for having to change the locks as it's her fault you've been forced to do it (deduct it from the rent but provide a receipt). You might also tell her that if you went to court concerning her illegal entry it could cost her a fortune in damages! £10,000 is not unheard of!

welshgold
22-09-2006, 11:37 AM
Hi there,


Not to keep any animals or birds or other living creature on the Property without the Landlord's written consent if granted to be revocable at will by the Landlord.




"The tenant may not keep any pet on the premises without the landlord's prior written permission, but whose permission will not be unreasonable withheld". This means that you can't be refused a "reasonable" request so you're in the clear.

of course its never that straightforward, clauses are put in for a reason, alright i am easy going and i would not object, to a cat , but where do you draw the line, some tenants are never satisfied, i have had one who after having cat then cut hole in outside door for cat flap, then some cats rip off wallpaper and scratch paintwork, the property often smells from them, other tenants can object to the cat messing on there gardens and killing the wild birds, its not easy being a landlord.

pippay
22-09-2006, 12:03 PM
It's a fact of life tha cats use other people's gardens, so all cats from surrounding properties may use the garden of a rented property ..I don't see this as a valid reason for witholding permission to have a cat !! You could easily have an owner occupied property next door whose cat uses the garden - and there is diddly squat that can be done about it, apart from scaring the cat away and discouraging it.

And I've never yet been able to stop a cat - any cat - from catching wildlife. It's what they do and in their genetic makeup.


other tenants can object to the cat messing on there gardens and killing the wild birds, .

welshgold
22-09-2006, 12:16 PM
It's a fact of life tha cats use other people's gardens, so all cats from surrounding properties may use the garden of a rented property ..I don't see this as a valid reason for witholding permission to have a cat !! You could easily have an owner occupied property next door whose cat uses the garden - and there is diddly squat that can be done about it, apart from scaring the cat away and discouraging it.

And I've never yet been able to stop a cat - any cat - from catching wildlife. It's what they do and in their genetic makeup.

although you have taken one part of my posting out of context,i will answer this , the point is that in making one person happy you are annoying someone else. The fact that all cats crap does not make you feel happy when they mess on your doorstep

pippay
22-09-2006, 12:23 PM
And in the context of using this as an excuse (on its own) for not allowing a tenant to have a cat, I stand by what I've said. I'm a tenant without a cat (although I'd dearly love one) and all the surrounding owner occupiers cats frequent the rented properties gardens. Perhaps I should take them to court to get them to stop their cats entering our gardens???

On the other hand, some cat owners, whether private or tenants, are not very responsible about having cats/dogs and can have several at a time making the place smelly and dirty, ruining furnishings and floorings so I CAN understand that there are more valid reasons for not allowing pets.

I just think this one is particularly flimsy and unreasonable.


although you have taken one part of my posting out of context,i will answer this , the point is that in making one person happy you are annoying someone else. The fact that all cats crap does not make you feel happy when they mess on your doorstep

Surrey
22-09-2006, 18:09 PM
After the "with permission" clause you will often find another clause that specifically mentions any damage or dilapidation caused specifically by having a pet and the tenant is expected to rectify the problems at their expense. This may include the cost of fumigation to get rid of flea infestations, and could potentially mean replacement of carpets, repairs to doors and walls if the cat has scratched them. And I wouldn't have thought expecting a tenant to pay for that kind of repair would be unreasonable, just as if they had damaged bits of the property even without the help of a pet.

If a tenant wants a pet, the landlord should reiterate (perhaps even in writing) what the tenant's responsibilities are regarding the condition of the property, and specifically mentioning the additional deterioration often experienced when pets are involved. Pet owners often don't realise how smelly their pets can be and how the whole place can smell like wet dog!

johnboy
22-09-2006, 18:34 PM
I might be missing the point here but why is it so unfair for a landlord who owns the property paid for the carpets etc to not want tenants with pets. If the tenant knows from the start what the rules are and they dont like it rent else where.

by the way i have a dog and two pet rats (but not a big fan of cats)

Surrey
22-09-2006, 18:37 PM
I might be missing the point here but why is it so unfair for a landlord who owns the property paid for the carpets etc to not want tenants with pets. If the tenant knows from the start what the rules are and they dont like it rent else where.

by the way i have a dog and two pet rats (but not a big fan of cats)

I suppose you could discuss what "reasonably witheld" could mean. If the landlord says he intends living in the property afterwards and he has a child who is severely allergic to animals that would, IMHO, be reasonable.

TonyH
22-09-2006, 20:56 PM
My son and his girlfriend have been looking at flats to rent.I viewed a property with him,and it was filthy.
There had obviously been a cat(s) in there. The carpet was soaking in places with cat pee. It stunk so much we could not stay in there. All the agent had to say was "Well, it could do with a lick of paint"

He arranged to view another flat with a different agent, when he got there he was met by a builder who was working in another flat. The builder said "The agent couldn't make it,so I'll let you in to look around. Professional or what.

johnboy
23-09-2006, 07:47 AM
[QUOTE=TonyH;23283]My son and his girlfriend have been looking at flats to rent.I viewed a property with him,and it was filthy.
There had obviously been a cat(s) in there. The carpet was soaking in places with cat pee. It stunk so much we could not stay in there.


My point excaliy how is the landlord to know to what sort training any pet has had or given.

I`ve been in peoples houses and you would`nt know they had a pet, but others smelt like a kennel.

a landlord should be able so say he does`nt want pets.

welshgold
23-09-2006, 13:43 PM
And in the context of using this as an excuse (on its own) for not allowing a tenant to have a cat, I stand by what I've said. I'm a tenant without a cat (although I'd dearly love one) and all the surrounding owner occupiers cats frequent the rented properties gardens. Perhaps I should take them to court to get them to stop their cats entering our gardens???

On the other hand, some cat owners, whether private or tenants, are not very responsible about having cats/dogs and can have several at a time making the place smelly and dirty, ruining furnishings and floorings so I CAN understand that there are more valid reasons for not allowing pets.

I just think this one is particularly flimsy and unreasonable.

Now I know how the Pope must feel, i suggest you go back and read my original post

pms
23-09-2006, 14:01 PM
To be honest I hate cat's personally they are the laziest,smelliest creatures that walk the earth.On a more serious note I don't think the clause in an AST about no pet's is actually enforceable the Human Rights Act as seen to that

PART II
THE FIRST PROTOCOL
ARTICLE 1
PROTECTION OF PROPERTY
Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.

Would a pet be classed as a possession even if it was a cat,dog,horse etc.The other side of the coin is it a breach of the AST or an "unfair term".

Jennifer_M
23-09-2006, 17:38 PM
they are the laziest,smelliest creatures that walk the earth
Are you talking about the animal or some of their owners??
Cats are extremely clean and no lazier than another animal like dogs etc.
Some owners however forget to clean the litter tray (for cat that don't go out) forcing the cat to go elsewhere where it doesn't have to bear the smell and can keep it "tidy". Pretty clean to me !

Anyway, my cat's too busy cleaning herself to feel offended by your comments ;)

pms
23-09-2006, 23:47 PM
Anyway, my cat's too busy cleaning herself to feel offended by your comments ;) My comments about cat's were in no way intended to offend just personal opinion

pippay
25-09-2006, 04:40 AM
So you know how the Pope feels .. are you also allegedly "infallible" ???? :D

If you read MY post again, you will see it is you that has taken it out of context. You will see that I have not disputed the general argument that LL's are allowed to say no to having pets in their property - only the use of a very flimsy excuse of a cat using other people's gardens, which I would consider as "permission being unreasonably witheld".

Of course a LL can say no; after all they do not know whether the tenants are responsible when it comes to owning animals (or paying the rent for that matter).

I know of a tenant who at one time, with the LL permission, owned one gerbil (with a massive two story "house" for it) which was kept in the living room. She now has 4 gerbils and all the associated housing. The place reeks of the smell of wet woodshaving and rodent urine, with sawdust ground into the carpets below the housing.

She might well love her animals but is totally oblivious to the smell and damage it is causing to the LL property; in the same way that smokers don't realise the smell and staining smoking can cause to a property and pet owners, especially if more than one pet, don't realise that pets give off smells. As the LL originally gave permission it would be difficult for him now to try and withdraw it, I would imagine.

By the way, I am a smoker and a (former) responsible pet owner, but I can perfectly understand why a LL would want to say no to having both types of tenant in his property.

So I beleive it IS a judgement call for the LL to make, providing his reasons for witholding permission are reasonable, valid and sustainable.


Now I know how the Pope must feel, i suggest you go back and read my original post

pippay
25-09-2006, 04:53 AM
I agree Jennifer - having owned dogs and cats in a past life, I find cats are cleaner than dogs when it comes to toilet habits, with one cat I had actually using the loo (untrained i might add !!) when it got caught short; I also found that dogs (particularly puppies and adolescents) are generally more destructive than cats, chewing anything from phone wire to flooring to furniture and staircases !!! Whereas my cats never scratched a thing (except the dog ... ! )

I also agree that it is all about being responsible pet owners.


Are you talking about the animal or some of their owners??
Cats are extremely clean and no lazier than another animal like dogs etc.
Some owners however forget to clean the litter tray (for cat that don't go out) forcing the cat to go elsewhere where it doesn't have to bear the smell and can keep it "tidy". Pretty clean to me !

Anyway, my cat's too busy cleaning herself to feel offended by your comments ;)

POLO
01-03-2007, 07:33 AM
- First question - she can do nothing, depending on how the term in the AST is worded. Can you paste exactly what the term about pets says? It is an unfair term to have a blanket ban on pets. IF it IS a valid term, she can technically begin eviction proceedings based upon breach of contract. However, it is unlikely that it is written in such a way as to make it valid. Bear in mind however, that if you want to stay in the property after April, this is now extremely unlikely - at this point she will be able to evict without reason.

- Keys - no you do not have to give her a set, and indeed I would refuse to do so based upon what you have said.Not to keep any pets on the premises unless written consent is obtained from the Landlord and if consent is obtained, at the end of the tenancy the tenant will have the property sprayed/fumigated for flea infestation and all carpets and furniture professionally cleaned and prove to the Landlord by way of receipts that this work has been carried out.