If anyone can help me I'll be SO grateful as I'm pretty distraught at the moment.
I bought a ground floor maisonette with access via patio doors from my lounge onto a private patio within communal grounds. When I viewed the property there were lots of cats wandering about, alot of doors with cat flaps inserted and a dog barking from one of the other maisonettes.
There are 28 maisonettes in total on our development (built in 1991) made up in 2 blocks.*
I mentioned to my seller I'd like a cat and she replied; 'someone has a dog in one.'
Anyway, during the conveyancing process I noticed the wording on the lease stated; "no animal, bird or reptile shall be kept without prior, written consent of the landlord". I pointed this out to the solicitor and asked he write to request permission for a cat and possibly a small dog in the future. He said this was an issue for the management company rather than the freeholder and I asked him twice to write for permission. I presume he did but no reply was ever received. Solicitor eventually said (verbally) "just get a dog and if anyone mentions it, just plead ignorance that that was on the lease."*
Anyway, no response as far as I was concerned, coupled with a very pet-friendly feel when I viewed made me just think it was just a formality wording on the lease and wasn't used in day to day enforcement. *
I moved in and realised that on the development there was a rather difficult lady who had 'issues' on a lot of topics (parking, rubbish, pets, property cleanliness) and would regularly like to go round 'bullying' people that they had broke these rules and that she would have them thrown out as 'chair of the management company'. On purchase of each maisonette, each leaseholder is granted 2 shares to the management company, and directors appointed (this lady being one of 3). We were at that stage run by a managing agent. People just tended to use the 'ignore' tactic with this lady and get on with their lives. The managing agent manager was also sick of her and used the same tactic.*
Anyway, she then severely kicked off about pets (no one else saw them as a nuisance and they were well bahaved) and got us all the fill in a 'pet declaration form' via the managing agent to state what pets we had (or legal action threatened). At that stage a new (residents) management company director had been appointed, voted in by the other directors. I think he was ramping things up a gear.*
After this declaration I got a rescue kitten as I have a long term health condition and am largely housebound and my health had worsened after some particularly bad personal stress. I wanted the comfort and companionship of her.*
She was indoors with me, toiletted indoors and no one saw her. Then there was a 'pet vote' these 2 directors also kicked off. I voted 'for' but apparently they ended up with a majority of 10 out of the 28 maisonettes as 14 declined to vote. That left 4 votes 'for' pets, even though there was more than 10 households at the time with pets.*
I didn't declare my kitten when I got her as I knew what would ensue, but I told the manager of our managing agents I had. He was fine about it (off the record) and said nothing would be done.
Then, these 2 directors decided to oust the managing agents so the estate would be 'self managed'. Oh dear. I couldn't go to the AGM to vote on this plan as I wasn't well enough, only a handful turned up who all voted 'for'. If you didn't turn up they said your vote would count as 'for' with no option to vote otherwise.*
Anyway, now self managed, my cat has been seen in my bedroom window (by said lady) and the other director has sent me a threatening letter telling me to 'remove the animal in 14 days'. She goes out very occasionally (doesn't particularly like it!), wears 3 bells so doesn't catch birds, toilets all the time in a litter tray inside and is fully vaccinated and neutered. She does no harm to anyone.*
I now have this deadline which is up this Friday and I believe they have the technical law on their side (if not a moral one). I've sent a pleading letter saying the comfort and companionionship she brings me as I can't go out etc. has made zero difference.*
Everyone agrees around here I am a good, kind neighbour, but this lady is gunning for me blood (or rather my cats).*
Anything I can do? Is it very enforceable. How do I deal with this deadline. This deadline hasn't come from a solicitor, just this other director (from the safety of his nice home in France with a cat!)
All I can see to do is sell which I can ill afford both physically and financially.*
Many thanks in advance.