Q&As

In the context of a lease prohibiting pets in a flat, is there any case law on the interpretation of the words 'which may cause a nuisance'?

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Published on LexisPSL on 01/03/2016

The following Property Disputes Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • In the context of a lease prohibiting pets in a flat, is there any case law on the interpretation of the words 'which may cause a nuisance'?
  • Contractual interpretation
  • What is nuisance?
  • Consent to assignment

In the context of a lease prohibiting pets in a flat, is there any case law on the interpretation of the words 'which may cause a nuisance'?

Contractual interpretation

The principles of construction for deeds and non-testamentary instruments: Halsbury's Laws of England [364].

As set out in the above Practice Note, applying the reasonableness test, one can reasonably say that lease does not exclude all animals to be kept in the premises but only those which may cause annoyance and/or nuisance. Also, more often than not, residential leases prohibit tenants from keeping any animal on their premises and applying the 'matrix of facts test' the assignor can use general market practice to strengthen its argument.

The question which therefore follows is what can constitute nuisance?

What is nuisance?

For private nuisance generally, see Practice Note: Establishing a claim for private nuisance.

As explained in the above Practice Note, private nuisance protects the claimant’s use and enjoyment of their land by balancing the interest of the claimant in enjoying their land, against the interest of the defendant in enjoying their land.

In assessing the interests of the parties and what ‘may’ constitute a nuisance, the court employs the test of reasonableness and takes into account a variety of factors including:

  1. ordinary user—The ordinary user of premises cannot amount to a nuisance. If an ordinary user does in fact interfere with the enjoyment of

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