We have found a great house. Trouble is, it's a new build. I have ten bantam hens (well, technically eight and two micro hens). They live in a 5x9 ft house/run but I also let them free range in the daytime. The house we live in is on a 11 year old estate with neighbours on all sides. It hasn't been a problem. Anyway....I asked the sales woman at the development if I could bring my hens. She got back to me today to say that in the contract it says 'no animals may be kept except normal domestic pets'. She said that this is deliberately vague, and her area manager thinks we'd be fine to move in with the birds, but if anyone complained we may have to get rid. The local council has no by laws about keeping chickens. So, if we spend £200k plus on a great house and then someone complains, can they insist on me getting rid of my pets? Because they are pets, but I'm not sure if the law classes them as livestock.
I've looked at several online dictionaries, and they all say the same thing seem to suggest that they're livestock if you make a profit from them. But it's all a bit vague, I couldn't find a legal definition.
When my parents bought a new build back in the 70's, there was a clause about not keeping rabbits. I did have a pet rabbit, no-one objected... but that's not really helping you, is it?
This is our situation too but we want chickens, don't have them yet.
Our covenants says the same "only household domestic pets" we have googled a lot and it would seem that poultry are not classed as livestock and because we intend to keep the eggs and not sell them for profit it would seem that we can keep them.
We are on a corner plot and intend to keep them at the side of the house, which is next to a road and not next to any neighbours although we do have neighbours on the other side of the road.
The person who enforces a covenant would be the builder but they would only do this if it was stopping the other properties being sold.
We are on a 10 year old estate and lots of covenants have been broken all over the estate so we think we will risk it
Personally I think with the increase in urban chicken keeping I think they would be considered household domestic pets (that doesn't mean they have to be kept in the house)
Just looked on gardenlaw for you, have a look at this and just read the posts by Conveyancer, so the top one and one much further down.
I think we are fine as we are not the original purchaser of the property so haven't entered into an agreement with the builder not to do things, however you are buying yours from new. Hmmm, I think you need to ask your solicitor.
I live on a new build estate, now I know it's not the same as chickens, but there are things in the contracts saying no satellite dishes on the front of houses or caravans to be kept on driveways. Hmmmm well need I say more..... . I did think about becoming a childminder and there was also something about running a business from home, my solicitor just added into the contract that I would be running a childminding business from home and that was fine.