Are Your Pets Prepared For Your Move?

So you’ve chosen your removal company, researched utility providers, done some decluttering and have a game plan for the big day.  But have you prepared your pets for your move?

A number of years ago, I acted in a purchase of a house.  A week after completion, my client phoned me to say that the seller had left a large number of items at the property.  She had been in direct contact with the seller and he had promised to move the items but despite a few prompts it hadn’t yet happened.  I said that I would contact the seller’s solicitors to inform them of this and point out that the seller should have given vacant possession on completion and that the seller was under a contractual obligation to remove these items.

Then she said, “There’s one other thing – the seller has also left their cat.”  My client then went on to explain that when she moved in, there was a cat roaming around the house.  When she broached the subject with the seller, he told her that he had tried to get the cat into a pet carrier when he was moving out, but the cat wouldn’t go in so he gave up and he left it at the property.  He had told my client that he would collect it soon and asked her in the meantime if she could feed it regularly and try and catch it herself if she could.

I sent a fax to the seller’s solicitors detailing a numbered list of items that the seller left at the property, with the last item being “one cat (black)”.  I notified them that the seller was in breach of contract and asked them to ensure that the seller removed the items immediately.

As I do not own a cat, I am not qualified to advise on the intricacies of moving a cat from one house to another.  But the seller could probably have been better prepared.  Maybe by having a few practice sessions, or buying cat treats to entice the cat into the pet carrier, or maybe buying catnip to sedate dear tiddles.

Another time, I was acting in another purchase.  We were ready to exchange and my client wanted a particular completion date.  Unfortunately, the sellers could not agree to this date as the seller’s cat had just had some injections and was not allowed out of the house for a certain period of time, so they wanted a later completion date to accommodate this.  My client’s preferred completion date was eventually agreed on the basis that my client looked after the seller’s cat until it was cleared to move by the vet.

If you’re buying a flat, you need to consider whether the lease will prevent you from keeping a pet in the property.  Some leases contain a covenant whereby you cannot keep a pet at the flat unless you obtain the freeholder’s prior written consent, whereas some leases contain a restriction against keeping a pet at all.

If you’re looking to buy a flat and you have a pet, you could ask the agents to ask the seller whether they know if there are any restrictions in respect of keeping pets.  Once you have had an offer accepted, you should also inform your conveyancer that you have a pet so that they can check the lease for any restrictions in respect of keeping pets and so that they can ask the seller’s solicitors to ask the freeholder at the earliest opportunity for consent if necessary.

If you are looking to sell or buy a property (whether or not you have a pet), please contact Brian Craig on 020 7703 5034 or bc@meaby.co.uk for timely advice.

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