Can I keep my dog if I downsize and move into a garden flat?

I intend to downsize and have seen two properties I like - a garden flat and a small terrace. I prefer the flat but my girlfriend says I will definitely not be allowed to keep my dog in it. Is she correct?
Question: I intend to downsize and have seen two properties I like — a garden flat and a small terrace house. I have a dog but my girlfriend says I will definitely not be allowed to keep it in the flat, so I must go for the house. I prefer the flat but cannot bear the thought of being parted from my dog. Is my girlfriend correct?

Answer: It depends on the terms of the flat’s lease. Ask the selling agent or the seller whether dogs are allowed and ask to see a copy of the lease, which will contain covenants, some of which will apply to the landlord and some to the lessee.

These covenants are likely to be included in the main part of the lease but there is also likely to be a schedule of restrictive covenants. Look for those which bind the lessee. 

Most leases contain covenants relating to keeping pets. They may say dogs are not allowed in the flat at all, or that one would be allowed with prior written consent of the landlord. In the latter case, contact the landlord or the managing agent for the building to see if you could keep your dog at the flat. If your pet causes a nuisance, by barking or fouling common areas for example, the landlord’s consent could be withdrawn or you could be in breach of other covenants relating to noise or nuisance. 

If you have friends or family with dogs who may visit, establish at the outset if their pets can be allowed in on a temporary basis. If you own a share of the freehold you will have a say, but you may be outvoted by the other shareholders. A freehold house is unlikely to have any covenants regarding dogs, so may be a better bet.

What’s your problem? If you have a question forFiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret thatquestions cannotbe answeredindividually butwe will try tofeature them here. Fiona McNulty is a partner in the residential property, farms and estates team at Withy King LLP (www.withyking.co.uk).

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