Worried about the leasehold no pets clause?
An experienced conveyancing solicitor will be able to spot the no pets clause and help you renegotiate it.

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Leasehold No Pets Clause

(Last Updated: 29/05/2024)
6 min read

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act 2024 was passed on the 24th May 2024, but is not yet in effect and the date for this is not yet clear. We will update our content as and when the finalised legislation is published.

Some of the expected changes include:

  • 990 year standard lease extension for houses and flats
  • Standardised format for service charge bills, for greater transparency
  • Leaseholders will no longer have to pay their freeholder’s costs when making a claim
  • Freeholders who manage their building directly must belong to a redress scheme, so leaseholders can challenge them if needed (already applies to managing agents)
  • Ban on sale of leasehold houses, except in specific circumstances and schemes
  • Fair and transparent buildings insurance handling fees
  • Removal of two year requirement before statutory extension

While the existing act abolishes ground rent on lease extension and new leases, the new act does not cap ground rent on pre-existing leases.

Can you have pets in a leasehold property?

A lease can sometimes include a leasehold no pets clause, excluding you from being able to keep pets in the flat, which can often lead to a very tough decision to be made when buying the property.

Do you pull out from the purchase all together, leave your pet behind, or, do nothing and see what would happen if you get caught?

We do not advise breaching your lease because the freeholder would be entitled to take action against you, when they eventually find out - read on for more info on this.

Can you have pets in a leasehold property and what you can do about a Leasehold No Pets Clause, from SAM Conveyancing. A red strike-through circle containing a black paw print.

Can a landlord refuse pets?

Yes, a freeholder can ban pets through a leasehold no pets clause. For most, the choice of leaving their beloved pet behind is out of the question, so they will simply pull out of the purchase of a no pets leasehold flat; but do you need to? There are ways to get around this issue, but you'll need support from your solicitor to do this.

This article considers the following questions:

Can you remove the leasehold no pets clause? Negotiate a Deed of Variation with your Freeholder

There's often a restrictive covenant in leasehold contracts, which disallows keeping pets, such as cats and dogs in your flat. You might be able to negotiate a deed of variation with your freeholder to remove or vary this restriction.

Make sure you instruct an experienced conveyancing solicitor, as when you first buy your flat, they should uncover this at the legal enquiries stage of your conveyancing process.

How do you find out if you can't have a pet?

The reason for the issue is that every leasehold property has a lease, which set outs how you can live in the flat/property. Much like a rental agreement, it goes into detail about your rights and obligations under the lease that you, the leaseholder, must abide by as part of your obligations to the freeholder. The type of wording you should look for within your lease is as follows:

"Not to keep any bird, reptile, dog or other animal in the Demised Premises"

The challenge is that you may not have a chance to examine the lease until quite far into the conveyancing process, which means you have most likely spent an excess of £1,000 in costs for mortgage valuations, legal fees, survey costs and property searches.

Pets aren’t the only subject of restrictive clauses within a lease and you can often see others which impose restrictions on:

  • subletting
  • laying wooden flooring
  • removal of internal walls
  • hanging clothes outside of your windows
  • or even having a sky dish

You can find out more about all the complexities of buying a leasehold property by reading our simple guide to Buying a Flat.

I want to keep pets in a leasehold flat - What can I do?

Clauses stopping you from having a pet in the property are very common and so it is equally common that purchasers look to get this changed. You can address the issue by informing your solicitor that you own a pet and the freeholder needs to give their consent. It can support your request if you know other leaseholders have pets in the flat.

  • Freeholder gives consent to waive the no pet clause

This is the best outcome, where the freeholder gives consent for pets to live in the property. To get this consent, your solicitor needs to formally request this directly with the freeholder and they should notify the freeholder if there are other flats where there are pets in the property.

Once the consent is given by the freeholder, some solicitors will be happy to have this consent in writing to be used in the future if there is ever a dispute. Other solicitors will want to draft a deed of variation to be registered at the Land Registry alongside the lease. The cost of a deed of variation depends on your solicitor but can cost in the region of £150 to £300 EXC VAT.

  • Freeholder doesn't give consent to waive the no pet clause

There is no guarantee the freeholder will give consent and we have had a case recently where the developer refused any pet on a new build property. If this is the case, then you have to decide whether you want to proceed with the purchase, either by getting rid of your pet or ignoring the clause and face the consequences of any come back from the freeholder.

"No Pets Leasehold Flat" - What if I move in and the freeholder finds out later that I'm keeping pets?

If you breach the leasehold flat no pets clause in your lease by having a dog, cat or a forbidden pet, then you could be taken to court by the freeholder for breaching the terms of your lease and the court might order you to remove the pet from the property.

It is possible, on the other hand, that a more easy-going freeholder might accept the situation as long as the pets are not behaving antisocially and causing complaints from other leaseholders. You should never assume this would be a likely outcome: it is a bad idea to knowingly breach any terms of your lease.

Ultimately, if you're looking at buying a home or a flat and you're a pet lover, you should be aware that leasehold contracts may restrict pet-keeping or even ban it. Your best ally is an experienced conveyancing solicitor, able to spot restrictive leasehold conditions and if the situation warrants it, able to negotiate and draft an appropriate deed of variation.

We have specialist leasehold conveyancing solicitors on hand to handle this type of issue. If your freeholder forbids you from keeping your pet in the property and you decide to pull out of the purchase, we'll protect your initial deposit through our No Sale, No Fee Policy.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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Leasehold Information Pack



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