I am currently trying to get a pet dog for my share of freehold flat (UK). The lease which covers all of the 7 flats that make up the management company currently has a clause prohibiting pets or animals without Landlord’s permission. A copy of the relevant paragraph is below: “3.10.14 Not at any time to keep any animals or pets on or at the Premises except with the prior written consent of the Landlord which consent may be revoked at any time by notice at the discretion of the Landlord.”

Under the Articles of the Management Company, all 7 of the flats are equal shareholders and therefore act collectively as the Landlord. The Articles also confirm that decisions are made based on the majority view, and that each shareholder has equal voting status. We have held the vote and this came back as 4 against, 2 (I could not vote due to conflict of interest) for, therefore rejecting the request.

It is worth noting that one flat already has a cat (agreed with the seller at the time of purchase that this was ok) and one flat has a dog (bought the dog prior to knowing a vote was required, when a vote was held they got approval as people felt it was too unfair to make them get rid of it). The question is whether there is anything I can do to get around this vote in order to get a dog? Having read around I was thinking that the OFT have published guidance on ‘fair’ clauses around keeping pets and that these should not just be a blanket ban. Therefore the clause I have is fair as it allows for Landlord’s permission. However, as the reasons provided by the Landlord are ‘we think you would be a responsible owner but don’t want to set a precedent for future residents who would not be so good and we don’t want other pets,’ my argument would be that the clause in itself is fair but the Landlord’s are not executing it in a fair capacity. Given one flat already has a dog and another a cat, I would also argue that the Landlord is not acting fairly and consistently.

Additionally; I have a separate front door and private patio which would ensure that the dog would not be on anyone else's property and could not damage communal areas as I don't use any myself.

Thanks for any help you can give.


  • Generally speaking, if the only way for you to bypass the landlord's unreasonable refusal is if the clause included '...must require written permission by the landlord; such permission will not be unreasonably withheld' – Shazamo Morebucks Jan 27 '19 at 21:04
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    Why were you not allowed to vote? Your opinion should have counted as much as everyone else's. Imagine five of you wanted pets, then only the two who don't want pets can vote? Doesn't make sense. – gnasher729 Jan 27 '19 at 23:33
  • @gnasher729 that's assuming one vote is held for all five requests - each case is individual tho, so there should be five individual votes. – user4210 Jan 28 '19 at 0:28
  • @gnasher729 It can also be considered that the person requesting the vote will always vote in their own favour. – user4210 Jan 28 '19 at 0:28
  • I agree with gnasher that you should have been allowed to vote. "Conflict of interest" is where your own personal interests conflict with the people you represent. There is no such conflict here (the fact the vote is about allowing you to do something you want to is not relevant). – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jan 28 '19 at 13:27

Is my no pets clause being unreasonably executed?

No. The [collective] Landlord is provably complying with the prohibition against blanket ban on having pets by allowing the other dog to stay. Other than that, deciding where to set the limit on further pets [requests] is well within the Landlord's discretion.

Discretion might amount to unfairness if the Landlord subsequently allows other pets despite denying --or maintaining the denial of-- your request. However, discretion permits varying degrees of arbitrariness and/or has a connotation thereof. That means that the Landlord is not required to be consistent when deciding subsequent requests. In this case, I am inclined to think that discretion would supersede a duty of fairness insofar as clause 3.10.14 is known to all shareholders (and plausibly prospective shareholders as well) beforehand.

The Landlord's remark that "we think you would be a responsible owner" could have the effect of constraining his discretion in subsequent requests, but such constraint would be more voluntary than compulsory.

Once the cat and the other dog die or move out, it will be harder for the Landlord to disprove the argument that the Landlord is implementing a de facto [and prohibited] blanket ban.

Note: My understanding of the OFT is based on this post, since it is unclear to which OFT guidance you are referring. For instance, this OFT document is marked as withdrawn. If you provide the text of the OFT at issue, I can supplement or amend my answer accordingly.

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