Wealden District Council
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Pet Procedure

1.  Landlord’s Statement

  • This procedure sets out Wealden District Council’s (WDC) approach to the keeping of pets by its tenants. We recognise the benefits that can accompany responsible pet Equally, controls must be in place to prevent irresponsible pet ownership, which can cause suffering to animals and a danger or nuisance to neighbours.
  • This procedure has been informed by the Pet Advisory Committee’s Publication “Pet Management for Housing Providers 2010” which sets out best practice for keeping pets in social housing. It is the definitive arbiter of all pet-related guidance for WDC tenants, including “Pet Agreement for Retirement Living Courts” (appendix II).
  • The aim of the procedure is to provide clear guidance on pet ownership for both staff and tenants. WDC will ensure that the procedure is applied fairly and consistently to all our In particular it covers the following issues:
  • What pets can be kept, and in what circumstances;
  • How advice on responsible pet ownership is communicated to tenants;
  • The actions WDC will take where pets are kept inappropriately or cause a danger or nuisance to neighbours;
  • How the tenancy agreement links to this

2.  Pets and the Law

  •  A full list and the most relevant legislative points is included in “Pet Management for Housing Providers 2010”.
  • The key Acts relating to pet ownership are:
    • The Animal Welfare Act 2006
    • Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
    • Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976
  • Tenants’ failure to abide by these requirements may result in prosecution by the police as well as civil action for breach of tenancy by

3.  Tenancy Agreement

  •  WDC tenancy agreements state: “Not to keep any pet without first obtaining the Council’s written consent”.
  • The Tenancy Agreement also states that tenants must
    • “not operate a business at the premises” – this includes the breeding of animals.
  • The clauses relating to “Damage” also applies to any damage caused by pets. Most damage caused by pets is due to lack of supervision or control of the pet, tenants must act responsibly to prevent this.
  • WDC has absolute discretion to withdraw its consent for a tenant to keep a pet at any time, and this will be binding on the

4.  Applications for Housing 

  • Applicants for housing are asked if they have a pet or if they intend to keep a pet and must provide details of the type and size of pet. This will not prejudice their application unless they plan to keep a pet for which permission will not be granted (see 6.2 below). In these cases the matter must be resolved before any offer of accommodation can be

5.  Criteria 

  • Tenants should seek permission to keep pets in all circumstances as this allows WDC to:
    • Assess whether or not permission can be granted
    • Record what animals are being kept on the Tenancy Pets UDC (Orchard)
    • To remind tenants of the terms of their tenancy agreement in relation to the keeping of
    • To issue the tenant with a Pet Agreement Form (appendix I) for
  • Permission will only be given after the type of animal and its size has been taken into consideration, together with the type of property the tenant lives in. If the tenant has access to their own garden, we will normally give permission. Permission may sometimes be withheld where the only garden is
  • Permission may be withheld where there is an existing nuisance problem or other breach of tenancy, or where there has been an historic pet-related

6.  What pets can be kept? 

  • Permission will normally be granted for small domestic animals eg. dogs (excluding those listed under s.1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, eg. Pit Bull Terrier type), cats, rabbits, Tropical / Marine fish, small caged rodents, small non-poisonous caged reptiles, non- poisonous contained insects or amphibians, guinea pigs
  • Permission will not be granted for the following:
    • Dogs specified in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991
    • Farm animals, including chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, horses, pigs and
    • Animals registered under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976
    • Where tenants already have the permitted number of pets in ownership
    • If in doubt about whether a dog falls within the remit of the above acts, the Housing Officer will seek specialist

7.  Responsibility 

  • Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, tenants are responsible for the health and safety of their pets. This requires proper day to day management and care of the pet. Any case where neglect or mistreatment has occurred will be immediately reported to the RSPCA.
  • The control of pets and any pets visiting the property are the responsibility of the tenant. If cats are allowed free access outside then the tenant must take steps to ensure that they do not cause a nuisance to neighbours eg. fouling communal areas. Dog faeces must always be removed immediately and disposed of
  • If any tenant wishes to construct a cat flap or outside accommodation for their pet they must first seek written permission from
  • No pet should be left in a property when the tenant is away unless clear arrangements have been made to provide adequate
  • If a tenant is looking after a pet temporarily for someone else, the criteria in this procedure still applies.
  • In Retirement Living complexes all dogs must be kept on short leads in communal areas so as not to create a trip hazard for other

8.  Permitted number of pets 

  • WDC does not define the number of pets that are allowed in a home. However, as a general rule, no more than 2 animals per family home will be allowed, 1 per retirement living Any exceptions to this must be agreed with the Housing Officer/ Retirement Living Manager in writing. Staff must be mindful of the type and size of dogs in determining whether to grant permission.

9.  Unauthorised pets 

  • WDC may be forced to take action in cases where tenants get a pet without obtaining prior Enforcement action could include:
    • Requiring the tenant to re-home the pet
    • Refusing a transfer until the matter is resolved
    • Involving statutory and voluntary agencies Police, local authority, RSPCA.
    • Extension of an Introductory tenancy at the 12 month review
    • Obtaining an injunction
    • Legal action to obtain a possession order
    • Eviction in the most serious cases
  • In all cases we will do our best to work with the tenant or their representatives to try and find a resolution avoiding enforcement action, if possible. In addition, tenants have the right to appeal against any decision made.

10. Enforcement action for breach of tenancy 

  • In cases where a breach of tenancy occurs as a result of a tenant keeping a pet and the tenant not acting to address the problems we may consider the case as anti-social behaviour and resort to the enforcement action listed in 1 above.
  • Examples of breach of tenancy may include:
    • Distressed animals
    • Pets fouling communal or individual gardens and this is not being cleared immediately
    • Pets fouling in neighbours’ gardens
  • Excessive noise
  • Pets left alone in a property
  • Unpleasant odours due to pets
  • Aggressive animals causing distress to other tenants or animals
  • Damage caused to the Association’s property by the breeding of pets
  • Too many animals being kept within a household (see 1 above).
  • In some cases it may be appropriate to consider mediation rather than legal action.
  • Any costs incurred by WDC relating to enforcement action will be passed on to the

11. Requesting permission

  • Permission must be requested in writing using the Application form (applicants) or Pet Agreement Form (tenants), providing full details of the pet requested. Tenants must not assume that permission will be granted, but wait for authorisation before getting a
  • Tenants who wish to temporarily look after pets must still apply to their Housing Officer / Retirement Living Manager for permission in writing.

12. The decision and appeal process 

  • The Housing Officer/ Retirement Living Manager should consider the request in line with this procedure and with reference to the Pet Advisory Committee’s Guidelines on Pet Management for Housing Providers 2010. They must then write to the tenant indicating whether or not consent will be given and advising them of their right to appeal if permission is not
  • Tenants may appeal in writing to the Housing Team Leader/ Supported Housing Team Leader, within 5 working days of receiving the decision. A home visit will be then undertaken within 10 working days or a meeting will be arranged at a suitable venue within the same
  • The Housing Team Leader / Supported Housing Team Leader will provide the final decision in writing within a further 5 working days of the
  • In cases where an appeal has been made WDC may seek advice from an external organisation eg. RSPCA.

13. Complaints 

  • All complaints relating to pets in WDC accommodation should be made in writing to the Housing Services Manager who may refer to an external agency eg. Police, Cats Protection League, RSPCA and will in all cases respond in writing within 10 working

14. Withdrawing permission 

  • If a decision is taken to withdraw permission this will be provided in writing, stating the Tenants have the right to appeal by writing to the Housing Services Manager, stating why they disagree with the decision.