We've found a flat that we'd love to buy, but have been told that they won't allow you to keep dogs, apparently because another resident was so difficult about dealing with the noise that their dog made that they just put in a blanket ban for all new residents. We have a old, quiet dog, and it would not be left alone for long periods, as neither of us work. Obviously we wouldn't ignore the ban, but, as the flat has been on the market for a long time, is it worthwhile contacted the management company to ask if they would reconsider?
Is the flat a share of freehold, with all the flats having a share in a management company?
Or is it a leasehold with external management?
If it's the former, you could work on persuading the other people in your building to alter their policy. You can make it a condition of purchase. If the vendor wants the sale, they are much better placed to persuade the freehold association.
If it's an external management company, I doubt you'll get far. These companies are run for profit and are at their most profitable when no-one is rocking the boat.
If you're feeling ballsy, you could move your dog in and wait to be sued by your neighbours. I bet they'll stonewall you, but they're really very unlikely to sue you.
It's the management company's job to uphold the terms of the lease, and most leases have a clause excluding pets. This often isn't enforced unless the pet in question becomes an issue, but if they've been burned once it's likely that they'll be a lot more stringent on it. Enforcing lease terms is difficult and costly and they won't want to expose themselves to that again if they can help it.