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I'm planning to buy a leasehold house (not a flat) in the UK. The lease has an unambiguous no pets clause. I have a dog.

The house is part of an apartment complex but has its own entrance separate from the rest of the building. The lease was originally written for the flats in the complex (where a ban on dogs might be considered reasonable) but the same lease was used for the four houses that were added later.

The dog is very small, does not bark or shed, have no access to the shared areas of the complex and will be indoors all the time. Basically, no one will ever know I have a dog unless they peek in the windows or see me carrying her to the car.

My question is whether the no pets clause would be enforceable if I were to challenge it in court. If there is no hope, I will obviously make other arrangements but if there is a reasonable chance that I would be successful, I would like to proceed with the purchase and contact the landlord with this information

  • For future readers: note that the answer to this question can be specific to jurisdiction. In some places, "no pets" clauses are not allowed, and are legally unenforceable if they're included in a lease. – Michael Seifert May 12 '19 at 15:26
  • Would it be feasible to buy the freehold for the house? – Steve Melnikoff May 12 '19 at 16:58
  • My understanding is that I have to have been resident for a certain period before purchasing the freehold. – Law Kev May 13 '19 at 7:28
  • Do you have a source for that? Non-resident foreign ownership of UK property is a controversial topic at the moment, so I would have thought that ownership of a property by someone who actually wants to live in it would be fine, regardless of their residency status. – Steve Melnikoff May 14 '19 at 10:31
  • I meant resident (i.e. the leaseholder) of the property, not the UK. I checked here: gov.uk/leasehold-property/buying-the-freehold and you have to own the lease for two years before you can buy the freehold. – Law Kev May 14 '19 at 22:51
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If it says "no pets" in the leasehold, then yes, that is enforceable. It doesn't have to be reasonable (in your opinion, or objectively) to be enforceable. Your choices are to either negotiate different leasehold terms, or to find a different leasehold.

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    The Office of Fair Trading (and, later, the CMA) issued guidance that blanket "no pets" rules in Assured Shorthold Tenancies are unfair and unenforceable. I'm wondering if the same guidance would apply to a leasehold house. – Law Kev May 13 '19 at 7:31

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