Clear Building Management share advice for RMC directors facing a leaseholder request to keep a pet in their property.
As flat living has become more of a lifestyle choice and the number of people live alone increases, more and more leasehold owners want to share their home with a furry friend. In late 2019, statistics suggested that more than half of UK adults own a pet, and this number has reportedly grown further during COVID-19 and lockdown.
Indeed, for many of us, our four-legged companions are vital to our happiness and wellbeing.
There is even case law that to deny a companion animal could amount to a breach of an individual’s human rights.
This link between pets and wellbeing is something that was recognised by the government earlier this year (somewhere in between Brexit and the pandemic), when Housing Minister Robert Jenrick updated the model tenancy agreement to encourage landlords in the private rented sector to no longer outright ban pets in their properties.
But what about leasehold properties, where a lot of leases – especially older ones – have a blanket ban on pets in apartments? This means that keeping a pet can often constitute a breach of the lease.
Should RMC directors enforce the ‘no pets’ rule? Is it in fact a breach of the human rights of non-pet owners to have animals in a neighbouring apartment?
The question of pets in properties is a frequently occurring one and needs a sensible and measured approach.
Here’s how we recommend you manage requests to keep pets:
Residents who wish to keep a pet must register details of the animal with you.
Pet owners must agree to a set of ‘good neighbour’ and animal-friendly policies to ensure there is no disturbance to other residents.
Dogs must be properly exercised (off-site).
All mess and any accidents must be properly cleaned up.
You must retain the right to withdraw consent if you receive complaints about behaviour, excessive noise, or concerns for an animal’s welfare.
This we believe strikes the right balance of low touch enforcement. It enables you to meet the needs of people who want to enjoy sharing their life with an animal alongside those who want peaceful enjoyment of their property, with no downside from a neighbouring pet.
Ian Hollins, Director at Clear Building Management
Clear Building Management is a managing agent based in central Manchester and works with RMC directors and leaseholders across the Midlands and North West.