When you have spent a great deal of money buying your home it can be very inconvenient to discover that you are subject to what may seem like unreasonable restrictions as to what you can do with it. These are usually concerning what type of alterations and additions you may make to the property and whether or not you can cut down trees in the garden. Even freehold properties may be subject to restrictive covenants.
How upsetting would it be to find that you cannot keep pets in your home? Especially when you thought that you had gained the necessary permission. This is exactly what has happened to a couple in East London and they are now fighting to be able to keep their much-loved dog.
Gabby and Florian Kuehn bought their £1 million leasehold flat because they believed that they had been given permission to have their dog there despite the fact that pets are not usually allowed in the properties concerned. But then the freeholder told them that their dog had to go. The Kuehns decided to fight for their dog and the case has now reached the courts.
The couple face legal costs of £80,000 if they lose but are determined to fight the case on a point of principle. Their battle is with management firm Victory Place who are equally determined that terrier Vinnie must leave. The Kuehns have garnered a great deal of support from pet owners who are outraged at their treatment.
Health Benefits of Pets
No-pets policies are certainly controversial. Whilst they ensure that residents are not disturbed by barking dogs or squawking parrots, many elderly, lonely and vulnerable people benefit hugely from pet ownership. Indeed, the health benefits of pets for everyone are now well-documented.
The Kuehns have launched a petition on change.org which reads: ‘We would like to see the UK move towards the animal welfare legislation in other European countries based on the recognition that all animals, from pets to farm animals are sentient beings – i.e. they have powers of perception and feeling.’
‘We would also like to see no pet clauses nullified together with the acknowledgement of the health and wellbeing benefits of pet’s companions.’
Meanwhile the court case continues with the management company arguing that although the policy is not written down, it is well-known. Other residents have applied for permission to keep animals and have been refused. Their barrister has argued that these decisions have established a pattern of behaviour which represents a clear policy.
It will be interesting to see how this story eventually plays out. The judge’s ruling could have serious implications for animal lovers up and down the country. Even if the Kuehns have flouted the rules, you can’t help hoping that they win!