Pet policy

Part of the Trust’s ASB and Hate Crime Policy Framework - Level 2 policy approval

1. Introduction

1.1 This policy outlines the Trust’s approach to the keeping of pets by its residents where permissible. The policy should be read in conjunction with the Trusts Tenancy Agreement(s) and the ‘Pet Ownership Guidance for Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust Residents’, which throughout this document will be referred to as ‘The Pet Guidance’.

1.2 The Trust recognises the benefits that responsible pet ownership can bring,  Generally the Trust will allow residents to keep pets where the property type is suitable, the Tenancy Agreement is complied with and the pet’s welfare will be assured. This will be processed on a case by case basis.

1.3 The policy and ‘The Pet Guidance’ document outlines good practice in relation to responsible pet ownership and explain the controls in place to prevent irresponsible pet ownership, suffering to animals, nuisance to neighbours, the wider community and staff.

1.4 The Trust’s Shared Owners and Leaseholders should make reference to their leases with regards to any specific covenants relating to pet ownership and responsibilities.

1.5 The Trust may take action against residents where there is a breach of tenancy such as residents allowing pets to cause nuisance or damage to a Trust property.

1.6 The policy complies with and supports the five welfare needs promoted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) and embedded in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This Act states that all pet owners should ensure their animals:

  • have somewhere suitable to live.

  • have a proper diet including fresh water.

  • have the ability to express normal behaviour.

  • are housed with or apart from, other animals.

  • have protection from, and treatment of, illness or injury.

1.7 All frontline Staff at the Trust will be trained to identify and challenge poor pet ownership and promote responsible pet ownership by referring residents to the policy and ‘The Pet Guidance’.

2. Applicants for Housing

2.1 Applicants for housing are asked, when viewing a property, if they intend to keep a pet and will be required to fill out a pet agreement form. This will not prejudice their application unless they plan to keep any animal listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act, Dangerous Dogs Act or any non- domestic animal.

2.2 Applicants for furnished tenancies are allowed to keep pets, however, as with other tenancy agreements managed by the Trust, they may be charged for wear and tear to furnishing, fixtures and fittings.

2.3 Applicants for independent living housing may be able to take their existing cat or dog with them but permission is currently scheme specific and will be granted on a case by case basis. Small caged animals are permitted.

2.4 Applicants for some of our general needs properties such as Wycliffe End, Walton Court Centre and Rossiter House will not be able to keep a dog but are able to keep a cat and other usual pets in line with the Tenancy Agreement.

2.5 There is a no pet policy at some of our properties currently at Cambourne Avenue, Gwendoline Buck Drive, Goldswain End (flatted blocks) and 4 Great Western Street.

3. Pets which can/cannot  be kept

3.1 All domestic pets will be allowed as per the Tenancy Agreement unless:

  • There has been a history of animal nuisance or neglect.

  • The applicant or any member of their family is responsible for committing anti-social behaviour within the last year.

  • The Trust is currently taking legal action against the tenant for rent arrears.

3.2 Residents are prohibited from keeping any animal listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and dogs proscribed in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. See ‘The Pet Guidance’ for examples of prohibited animals.

3.3 Non- domestic animals are not deemed suitable to keep in a Trust property or garden. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Primates

  • Ducks

  • Horses

  • Wild animals

  • Farm animals

3.4 Residents are prohibited from keeping a further pet when the resident already has 2 dogs or 2 cats or a cat and a dog.

4. Tenancy Agreements

4.1 The Trust sets out the basic rules regarding the keeping of animals in its Tenancy Agreement(s) and ‘The Pet Guidance’. An example of these rules are:

  • The resident must obtain permission before keeping any domestic pet the Trust will take into account the suitability of the property, the size of garden (if any) and the location. The Trust will allow residents to keep up to two small caged animals and or/ a fish tank no bigger than 91 x 45 x 38cm without seeking prior approval.

  • The Trust may revoke permission if a nuisance is caused or it is considered that the number of animals is excessive for the size of the property.

  • Pets must not cause nuisance to neighbours, staff and visitors this includes noise nuisance, fouling and animals which are allowed to stray.

4.2 Where a resident wishes to keep chickens or put up an outdoor structure, such as an aviary, further checks will be made on the size of the coop/structure and the size of the garden as per the Tenancy Agreement.

4.3 Residents will not be given permission to create a pond.

5. Responsible Pet Ownership

5.1 The Trust encourages residents to take sufficient time to consider the responsibilities and costs associated with having a pet before committing to one.

5.2 Pets must never be left unsupervised in any internal communal area. Pets (excluding cats) should also not be left unsupervised in any external communal areas, on pathways or Trust land.

5.3 Dogs must remain supervised on leads whilst in any internal or external communal area.

5.4 Any fouling should be removed immediately and the area cleaned. The grass may not be cut on our communal green areas if pet owners do not clean up after their animals.

6. Animal Related Nuisance

6.1 A range of behaviours can cause a nuisance to neighbours, Trust Employees and contractors. The Trust may take legal action against residents where there is a breach of tenancy for animal related nuisance. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Roaming and unattended animals.

  • Pets fouling in communal areas and others gardens which are not cleared immediately.

  • Excessive noise, for a prolonged period, such as a, for example dog barking.

  • Over population of animals within a household.

  • Unpleasant odours from pets.

  • Damage to property (internally and externally)

  • Aggressive animals.

  • Excessive flea infestation, which adversely affects others is not dealt with promptly and efficiently.

  • Breeding or kennelling animals in a property, as a business will require prior permission as per the tenancy agreement which is not suitable due to either its size or location.

  • Encouraging, training or allowing a dog or any other animal to fight.

  • Using animals (such as dogs) to threaten others.

  • Causing injury to others through biting and anything else deemed a nuisance.

7. Cruelty To Pets And Other Animals

7.1 The Trust supports the humane treatment of animals and will take swift and appropriate action, including contacting the RSPCA and Police, to prevent any further suffering. The Trust expects that any residents who choose to have a pet will take responsibility for its care; this includes the expectation that none of the household will be cruel or neglectful towards their animals.

8. Pets Left In Empty Properties Or Otherwise Abandoned

8.1 All reasonable efforts will be made to trace the owner however if the owner cannot be traced or refuses to collect the animal the RSPCA will be contacted. Contact may also be made to Cats Protection or the Dog Trust to accommodate the animal.

9. Installation Of Cat Or Dog Flap In Trust Owned Doors

9.1 Permission will not be granted to install a cat or dog flap in any flat front door or communal door, or any safety door.

9.2 Permission to install a cat or dog flap in our houses at the tenant’s own expense may be granted, following a request to the Neighbourhood Manager,/ Independent Living Scheme Coordinator. On leaving the property all residents must ‘make good’ to The Trust’s satisfaction by replacing the panel or the door where a cat or dog flap has been fitted.

10. Micro-chipping

10.1 The Trust requires all tenants to microchip their dog(s) in line with The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2014. The database must have current details of the dog owner, including name, address and contact number.

11. Appeals Process

11.1  A decision made by the Trust to allow a resident to keep or not keep a pet will always be confirmed in writing and placed on the property file. Where a resident wishes to appeal a decision they must do so in writing within 14 days of the initial decision and clearly explain why they think the decision is wrong.

12. Equality and Diversity

12.1 Assistance dogs are not pets and are therefore excluded from the main provisions of this policy. By assistance dogs, we mean dogs that have been trained specifically to assist people with a disability.

12.2 Residents are still responsible for the behaviour of their assistance dogs and they are subject to the same rules and stipulations as a regular household pet.

13. Value For Money

13.1 The Pet Policy and ‘The Pet Guidance’ provides advice and guidance to residents on how they can address a problem relating to either their pet or someone else’s. It is intended that this advice will reduce the number of cases relating to pet nuisance being reported to the Trust and in turn the number of hours the Neighbourhood Managers/Independent Living Coordinators spend on resolving reports of animal nuisance.

14. Implementation

14.1 The Senior Neighbourhood Managers and the Independent Living Team Manager are responsible for the implementation and monitoring of this policy.

14.2 Day to day adherence to the policy and its enforcement will be through the Neighbourhood Services Team and Independent Living Team.

15. Monitoring

15.1 All permissions to keep a pet will be recorded on the relevant IT systems by our Neighbourhood Managers and Independent Living Scheme Coordinators. The Housing Services Manager will ensure, through periodic checks, that recordings are completed in a timely manner and in line with the policy.

15.2 Complaints relating to animal nuisance are recorded within our ASB data which is reported annually to the Board.

16. Period of Review

16.1 This policy will be reviewed in line with the associated framework document in an agreed review programme currently every 3 years unless:

  • There are significant changes to legislation or regulation;

  • There are found to be deficiencies or failures in this policy, as a result of findings from audits, regulation or feedback from customer and stakeholders.

17. Related Documents

  • Animal Welfare Act 2016

  • Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

  • The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2014

  • The Tenancy Agreement

  • The Pet Guidance Document

  • The Pet Agreement Form

Policy author details

Author: Rosie Mowbray

Job title: Senior Neighbourhood Manager

Publication: Public