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  • Legal FAQs

    Tentants in Lower Flat in Breach of the Lease

    Hello All,

    I am facing a new issue with tenants and owner in the basement flat below me and would appreciate help. There are 3 flats in my Victorian conversion in a highly desirable street in east London. Myself and the lady above follow tall he rules but there have been hassles with both the owners and various tenants in the basement flat. I believed that these had effectively been ended after a time-consuming wrangle over who was due to pay what for some recent communal works, which were carried out and the eviction of a couple who rented the basement but operated it as a business on Airbnb. 

    That's the background. New tenants took the basement just under a couple of years ago and arrived with a dog. They didn't necesarily know the rules - which are that none of the occupants are allowed to bring a pet, particularly a dog, without permission from all 3 shared freeholders. Had I been asked I would have turned down the request, because I have cats and because of the noise nuisance. But I didn't have the heart to create a huge issue for them since informing them of this clause in the lease was the landlord's responsibility. I complained to the landlord and asked for a letter assuring me - and any future buyers - that an error had been made and that any future tenants would be made aware of this clause at the outset. I also informed the tenants of this and believed they were unlikely to remain beyond, say, 3 years. They are only in the UK on visas.

    No letter was ever forthcoming and I am currently trying to sell my flat and have found that sound cat owners are already put off by the fact that there is a dog in the basement flat, which has a garden, which my cats used to love sunbathing in safely. They have stopped doing that (and never did soil in the garden because they use a litter tray within my flat) because the dog went for one of them in what could have been a nasty attack, causing injury. 

    I have been away from the UK for a few months househunting abroad while my flat is being marketed. I have been informed that the basement tenants have bought/taken in a 2nd dog in my absence - when they are fully aware that the first dog is a breach. I have emailed them and the landlord/owner and clarified with my solicitor that it is indeed a breach and that the existence of the 1st dog did not set a precedent and was only tolerated as a temporary fix providing I received the correct reassurance that this would never happen again with future tenants.

    Neither has replied. What can I do? And if there were a legal remedy, what is it likely to be? I like my solicitor but need to change because he is just prohibilitvely expensive!!!! And until I sell I am living on a very limited income and a loan taken against my equity.

    Sorry this is long, but any help would be gratefully received!

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    it depends on the wording of the lease as to the action that can be taken and who by.

    I suggest you contact David Smith who comments on Propertytribes.

    You may also want to research Section 146 notice but I would advise against going down this route until other avenues have been exhausted and you have also spoken to a specialist solicitor.

    https://www.lease-advice.org/faq/section-146-notice/

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    You really need to seek Professional help as above. Any dispute with neighbours has to be declared to potential buyers so this will effect any potential sale.

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