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Landlord being unreasonable regarding keeping a pet? Excessive fees?

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Hello, hopefully someone can advise me regarding this.

 

I moved into my privately rented property a year and a half ago with my partner. We didn't have any pets and the deposit we paid was 1500. We rent this property via a local letting agents.

 

A few months ago my mother suddenly died and left an elderly female cat which we took in as we were advised she was unlikely to be rehomed due to her age and medical conditions. We didn't find it priority at this time to inform the letting agent we had the cat as our neighbours who rent from the same agent and landlord advised us they had to pay no additional fee on top of their original deposit to keep their 2 small dogs. They also moved in a year after we moved in.

 

Yesterday we has a contractor come around to replace our broken washing machine. Unbeknownst to me, this contractor was a relative of the landlord and started taking photos of the cat and her food bowl. At this point she was just asleep on her cushion. He disguised taking these photos by holding up the warranty for the washing machine and making it look like he was taking photos of that.

 

A few hours later I receive a very abrupt email from the letting agent with the attached photos. They are saying the cat can stay if I pay am additional deposit of £1500! Surely this isn't reasonable if the neighbours didnt have to pay any extra?! Also, is it even OK for them to just have a contractor come in and take photos like that? I felt pretty shaken up after seeing the attached photos. It made me uncomfortable letting them even send anymore "contractors" to my apartment as who knows when they will whip their phone out and take pictures! I wouldn't mind if it was part of an inspection by the letting agent (which last happened in November and we were told the apartment was in immaculate condition)

 

I guess the 2 things I want advise on is the unfair deposit which the neighbours didn't have to pay (we are pretty close to them so we know this to be true) and the contractor coming in and taking photos inside our apartment.

 

Sorry for the long post. Hopefully someone can advise

 

Thank you so much

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Is there any restriction on having pets in your tenancy agreement?


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Is there any restriction on having pets in your tenancy agreement?

Yes the original agreement we signed. We've already acknowledged this to them. It's just the unreasonable demand of £1500 they want considering the neighbours didn't have to pay this for their 2 dogs! Surely they'd have to provide justification as to why we are being asked to pay that for a small old cat when no deposit was paid next door for 2 large dogs?

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Yes it seems very unfair. In order to get the full picture, I think it might be worth asking your neighbours if they sought permission for the dogs before they moved them in.


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Yes it seems very unfair. In order to get the full picture, I think it might be worth asking your neighbours if they sought permission for the dogs before they moved them in.

I asked them yesterday and they told me they asked if they could have the dogs and were just told yes. I don't see why I can't just ask them if the cat can stay then? If we paid the deposit they'd be holding over £3000 of our money in total.

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Perhaps the landlord agreed with the dog owners that they will sterilise the house when they move out their expense?

 

Could it be that you have presented the landlord with a fait accompli and he is merely budgeting for the extensive and expensive cleaning the house will require to prevent it being a health hazard to the many millions of folk who are allergic to cat dander.....

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We've spoken to the neighbours though. The letting agents just said yes to their dogs. No agreement to clean or any additional costs. That's why I think it's unfair. How can the letting agents reasonably justify our cost? I have no issue what so ever having the apartment cleaned when we move. It's the holding us at ransom for another £1500 on top of our original deposit that bothers me..

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Alternatively the lanlord could have said no,get rid; or issued you with a S21 for breach of contract.

 

Whilst it is a large sum it is not unusual for pet owners to have to pay a premium on their deposit...

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Understand all of the above and spoke to the letting agents yesterday regarding this. Still doesn't justify the one cost for us and not the neighbours. If the neighbours had to pay the same then fair enough.

 

It is unfair for us to be expected to pay the price they quoted. The apartments are the exact same, what reason do they need the 1500 off us that they didn't need the same for the 2 large dogs next door? That's my issue with the entire thing. Oh and as well as a washing machine replacement guy taking photos inside my home.

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Well I suppose that the dog owners had the advantage of asking in advance and I suppose that if you had done the same and there would be no problem. I appreciate that you didn't have any intention to sneak the cat in without permission – but I suppose that the landlord is probably rather angry that it has been done in this way.

 

I think that you need to deal with it very delicately and show as much goodwill and as little confrontational attitude as possible.

 

I suggest that you write to him and simply say that you have received this email and that you are very sorry that you didn't bring the cat to his attention. Explain to him that what with the stress of losing your mother and the urgent need to give the cat a home, the need to discuss it with your landlord simply didn't figure in your mind at the time. You realise that it properly seems enormously discourteous but no discourtesy was intended. Tell him that you were probably partly influenced by the fact that he has allowed your neighbours to have two dogs in their home without any extra deposit – although you appreciate that they asked in advance and that you agree that you should also have done so.

 

Tell him that you understand completely his concerns about pets and their possible effect on the property, but you have been model tenants and you intend to keep on being so and that he has no need to worry about the condition of the property because it will continue to be well looked after. I would suggest that you understand that he may well feel the need to have an additional financial safeguard, but the figure that he has mentioned is more than you can afford and you would welcome the opportunity to agree a smaller sum. You would be very pleased if he would visit you for a cup of tea/coffee to discuss it all and also to meet the cat.

 

I think this is the kind of approach that you need to take. I would certainly not start complaining about the way that the photographs were taken – although frankly I think that this amounts to a trespass. If you start going in that direction then you risk getting your notice to leave the property for a breach of the agreement.


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Thank you for this, very helpful

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Is it unfair?. You've been treated differently, but then again you've acted differently!.

 

You note that the dog owning neighbours asked the letting agents.

You didn't ask. Maybe their experience is seeing more damage / costs from extra cleaning where pet owners havn't asked in advance over those who have sought permission, and are seeking to cover their perceived extra risk.

 

Edited to add, BF has just posted along similar lines, and suggested a way forward.

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I’ve already stated that the dogs were permitted in advance. Are they small or large? You’ve described them as both now.

 

You, however, were in breach of your contract and the landlord discovered this via a tradesman’s visit. As far as he is concerned you weren’t going to tell him about the cat. Think yourself lucky he didn’t just throw a S21 at you.

 

If I was your landlord and you’d breached my trust I know what I’d be doing.

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Incidentally, is it a furnished let or is the furniture your own?


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Thank you for this, very helpful

 

it's called – Humble Pie


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Deleted

Edited by JD0963

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Incidentally, is it a furnished let or is the furniture your own?

 

Partly furnished. We own most of the furniture here. The landlord owns the couches beds etc but she doesn't go near them. She sleeps most of the day due to her age and ill health.

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So now the landlord faces the risk of having to buy all new furniture when you move out....

 

Is the dog owning house also furnished? Or is that one unfurnished?

 

£1500 suddenly seems quite reasonable now, considering the risk you’ve introduced into his property.

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Next door is fully furnished..

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So now the landlord faces the risk of having to buy all new furniture when you move out....

 

Is the dog owning house also furnished? Or is that one unfurnished?

 

£1500 suddenly seems quite reasonable now, considering the risk you’ve introduced into his property.

Not really. If the basis of the 1500 is because of the risk to property, it doesn't make much sense at all. A small old cat in a part furnished vs 2 dogs in a fully furnished. The cat is at more risk of doing damage?

 

Sorry,still seems unreasonable to me. I understand fully we shouldve told the letting agent as soon as we got her. Considering the circumstances of losing my mum and the neighbours telling us they didn't pay anything, we didn't see this as a priority.

 

Despite this, I still feel it to be an unreasonable and unfair request. Not justified at all when you take into account the neighbours in the same situation as myself.

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You clearly aren’t interested in seeing any response that doesn’t agree with your concept of reasonableness.

 

Two couches at 300 each, three beds at another 300 each... you do the math...

 

The neighbours dogs are irrelevant. They got permission beforehand.

 

Contractually, you haven’t got a leg to stand on. All you can do is take a huge piece of that humble pie and appeal to the LL’s better nature.

 

BF has offered the most productive way forward. Talk to the landlord. See why, exactly, he wants the extra deposit and why it is so high. I bet it’s for the reasons I’ve already stated.

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Not really. If the basis of the 1500 is because of the risk to property, it doesn't make much sense at all. A small old cat in a part furnished vs 2 dogs in a fully furnished. The cat is at more risk of doing damage?

 

Sorry,still seems unreasonable to me. I understand fully we shouldve told the letting agent as soon as we got her. Considering the circumstances of losing my mum and the neighbours telling us they didn't pay anything, we didn't see this as a priority.

 

Despite this, I still feel it to be an unreasonable and unfair request. Not justified at all when you take into account the neighbours in the same situation as myself.

 

Up to you if you dig your heels in.

Up to them if they serve you a s21, which will succeed (on the facts stated) due to your breach of the tenancy agreement.

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I do appreciate all the responses, whether I agree with them or not.

 

I will take all the advice given here and contact the letting agent on Monday.

 

Thank you

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