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Tenent Has Cats

(25 Posts)
MatildaTheCat Wed 22-Jul-15 12:55:31

I recently posted on AIBU about my tenent and got a feisty response so am coming here for more measured replies smile.

Background info: tiny two bed flat, single mum with two dc aged 6&4. Last week I discovered she is about to have another baby. Felt a bit hmm about it but went and do an inspection and it was all in good order and so felt a bit relieved and happy to continue though it will be very squashed.

Yesterday I got an email from the owners of the flat above complaining that tenent has two, possibly three cats at my property. This is expressly forbidden within her tenency agreement and is also against the rules of the freeholder ie putting me in the wrong. The upstairs owners have seen her letting the cats in and out and also have seen her cat fouling on their doormat. The arrangement of the flats are that there are six flats within one small block on three floors. My flat is on the ground floor. There is a security door at the front of the block.

Now one problem is that I know for certain that several people within the development (18 flats in total) also own cats so she will almost certainly deny it. I will write to her but can anyone help me with the wording? She's an ok tenent in many ways and presumably doesn't want to be evicted in her situation ( children in excellent school very nearby and no bigger properties would be in her price range).

This will now annoy some people but her name came up in my Facebook feed for 'people you may know' and her cat/s are on her feed. sorry, I know that's snooping.

Please help,this is becoming a real headache.

wowfudge Wed 22-Jul-15 13:10:16

First things first: what does the tenancy agreement state? Normally it would be that pets are not allowed unless permission is obtained from the landlord. So quote the relevant provision of the AST and state that it has come to your attention that she has pet cats at the property. You then state that your permission has not been sought for these pets and in fact you cannot give it as it is in breach of your lease to keep pets there.

Then I would give her a reasonable amount of time to rehome them or you will have to serve her with notice to quit. That is your recourse and of course it may take time, may not go smoothly and could cost you money if she doesn't rehome them. Also point out that any damage caused by the cats is not classed as normal wear and tear and may result in deductions from her deposit.

The fact that other people have pets, which will be what she'll say if she doesn't deny it, is not your concern - you are concerned about your lease and your obligations as a leaseholder. Had she approached you before she got the cats, you would have advised pets are not allowed.

wowfudge Wed 22-Jul-15 13:17:12

The rest of the information about your tenant isn't relevant - she's in breach of the AST and you need to deal with it.

MokunMokun Wed 22-Jul-15 13:22:23

Do you want her out? It just sounds like maybe you do. Or do you want her to get rid of the cats? I think if you knew what you wanted from the situation then it would be easier to help you word things.

wowfudge Wed 22-Jul-15 13:30:43

You need to detach and view this is a more business like way - your lease is jeopardised by her keeping pets. Either the cats go or she goes in simple terms. You have to be prepared for either of those two outcomes.

Now she may choose to go of her own accord which is easier for you as a landlord in many ways, but means you need to find another tenant. Or you may have to evict her.

MatildaTheCat Wed 22-Jul-15 13:47:42

Thanks, I don't especially want her out. I was giving the background so as not to be drip feeding if more infor required by anyone. Quite correct, though, the cats are the issue. The AST does indeed state no pets and must be agreed with LL before any acquired. I will write and bring this to her attention.

Is it reasonable to give her a month to re home them? ( this exactly clashes with her giving birth in the next few weeks). Also, do I simply state the above at this point or do I also go on to outline possible eviction should she not comply?

To clarify, she definitely does not wish to move, she told me so last week. I think she wants to stay as long as possible for lots of reasons.

Many thanks for all help.

LIZS Wed 22-Jul-15 13:52:30

I would make initial contact asking her to confirm that she doesn't have pets living there as that would contravene the terms of the lease. If she isn't prepared to forgo them then she either needs to find somewhere else or you issue notice at the earliest opportunity. Once the first six months have passed you don't need a reason to issue two months' notice.

GraysAnalogy Wed 22-Jul-15 14:09:34

You got 'feisty replies' because you seemed to think it was your business whether she had a baby or not.

Like people have said she's in breach and it's not on. I would be sending a letter. However, I'm an animal lover and I know how difficult it's going to be to rehome those cats especially at this moment in time with her pregnancy. So I'd probably tell her she can keep them if she agrees to sign a contract, and possibly put a 'pet bond' down to cover any damage the cats do. But that's just me. Up to you to weigh up if it's worth losing a tenant over

MokunMokun Wed 22-Jul-15 14:14:03

Ok, so if it's just about the cats. How about a friendly chat first? Can you pop round unexpectedly and just chat with her at the door. You might spot one of the cats. They like to sit on the window sills. Explain that there has been a complaint and that you are concerned about the situation. See if she can propose any solutions. Rehoming cats is not easy, not that that's your problem. Then follow up with an email outlining the time period that you agreed and the rest of it.

wowfudge Wed 22-Jul-15 14:14:22

Grays the OP can't do that as it would put her in breach of her lease. Another flat owner has complained to her about the tenant's cats so she would be on a very sticky wicket doing as you suggest.

GraysAnalogy Wed 22-Jul-15 14:19:36

Oh sorry I didn't understand that part wowfudge thanks for explaining

wowfudge Wed 22-Jul-15 14:27:09

I think it's entirely reasonable to give her a month to rehome the cats - she didn't ask your permission and if that's around her due date then that isn't your fault. I suggested giving her a month in which to rehome them rather than saying 'immediately'.

I am a cat lover and we allowed our tenant to have two cats. Unfortunately she then decided to keep them indoors because the next door neighbours had dogs and they did cause damage about the place. You have a more serious issue which is the terms of your own lease.

Speak to your tenant and tell her you will be following up with a letter (and do it and mean what you say). If you can't deal with these sorts of things then employ a managing agent.

Spydra Wed 22-Jul-15 14:28:26

Do you know she has cats? I think you need proof first.

CityDweller Wed 22-Jul-15 17:03:51

Do you know for sure they're her cats and that she isn't just letting the other cats that live (illegally!) in the building in and out?

Could it be that other tenants don't like her and are using this as a way to cause trouble for her?

I'd be sure you're totally sure of the situation before going in with guns blazing...

LaurieFairyCake Wed 22-Jul-15 17:08:49

How is it in breach of the freehold if loads of the other flats in the development have cats? confused

If they're in breach too then clearly the freeholder isn't likely to do anything

specialsubject Wed 22-Jul-15 18:32:19

...but they might, and then there is all sorts of trouble.

the landlord cannot allow cats because the conditions of HIS/HER lease don't allow it. End of.

so the tenant needs to be informed, given time to rehome the cats and told that unfortunately if she does not do that, there will be no alternative but to evict.

if she wants to put cats above her family, that's her call.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 22-Jul-15 18:35:12

Just doesn't seem very fair and I wonder about the woman upstairs just picking on her (because she's a tenant?) when loads of others have cats.

Losingmyreligion Wed 22-Jul-15 18:39:11

She can put the cats in a cat refuge immediately. She's been taking the piss. I would play hard ball. We had the same situation with a dog. Gave tenant one month to rehome dog. She moved out. But dog was not annoying neighbours or shitting in the building. This is a no brainer.

wowfudge Wed 22-Jul-15 18:50:42

Being picked on because she's a tenant? Put the boot on the other foot: you own a leasehold flat and are barred from having a pet of your own, but the neighbour downstairs happens to be a tenant not a leaseholder and has pets. As the leaseholder you risk your lease being forfeited (taken off you by the freeholder) if you break the rules. What happens with someone's tenant? The leaseholder has to act to stop the breach by their tenant or risk losing their property.

Now is that fair of the tenant to put their landlord in that position?

Needmoresleep Wed 22-Jul-15 18:55:22

I had this happen to me recently. Tenant did not mention the cats even though they were expressly forbidden in the lease (because the building does not allow them,). Wretched tenant then justified not consulting me by saying that if he had done so i would not have rented the flat to him.

A tenant who takes a cavalier attitude to a written contract is, to put it mildly, a worry.

Your problem is:

1. You are upsetting neighbours, and given your head lease, you are in the worng.

2. Cats cause damage. Part of the kitchen floor is permanetly stained, I assume because the litter tray leaked.

3. House cats that can't roam mean quite a heavy allergyn build up. I only suffer mild hay fever but found myself sneezing repeatedly. They should be expected to carry out a specialist clean when leaving.

4. Cats that do roam are in other peoples gardens, possibly digging up flower beds, or as our neighbours cat does, tyring to use our shed as litter tray.

I would write formally quoting the lease and saying that you understand that they are breaching the lease. Confirm that given the terms of the Head lease you cannot give permission for animals to be kept. Say that if the tenant continues to breach the lease, you will have no option but to terminate the lease. Can the tenant confirm what her plans are.

Its nothing about cats. Its about the fact that someone has agreed to a contract and is then breaking it. If they had wanted to keep cats they should have mentioned it, or at least followed the terms of the contract and asked your permission. If the tenant wanted to keep cats they should have looked for a property which allowed them.

Sunnyshores Wed 22-Jul-15 20:27:53

Completely agree with needmoresleep.

Your tenant has broken their contract with you, just as non payment or redecorating the entire flat in red paint...... broken the contract, which was their decision, end of. They stick to the contract or they move out.

scarlets Wed 22-Jul-15 21:18:27

The complainants are expecting you to do something. If you don't, they might report the problem to the freeholder. I agree with the "letter" advice.

AnulTheMagnificent Thu 23-Jul-15 02:28:09

It may not be easy to rehome or place the cats immediately into a rescue situation, most rescues are full to bursting.

I know this is not your problem, where the cats go, but they are part of her family and she may need time to find a home for them. Being about to give birth is not going to make her life easy.

I have read both threads and am aware of the situation, it's just that people assume it is so easy to give up pets, it isn't easy at all, she may end up having to move out.

wowfudge Thu 23-Jul-15 08:57:18

I have little sympathy tbh - tenants know that pets are a big deal and just to go get more than one without following the terms of the AST is stupid. It's a situation of her own making.

MatildaTheCat Thu 23-Jul-15 13:53:31

Many thanks to all of you for your thoughts and views. I also apologise for my spelling errors, how polite of you all to overlook this. I normally can spell.

Anyway,the bottom line is that I will be writing to her as outlined above and giving her 28 days to re home the cats permanently. Since the neighbours are complaining about her cat fouling on their doormat I feel they have a valid grievance. I am quite able to follow this up,mi just lack the experience in this particular matter. I hope I won't be back in another month asking for help in evicting her. I truly don't want to do that but yes, she's taking the piss and she knows it.

Will let you know how this goes and thanks again especially those who have experience in this field.

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