Distress as residents told they must give up their pets or face legal action
- Credit: Archant
Residents of a block of flats say they are furious after being told they have to give up their pets within 28 days or face legal action.
But some residents of Clevedon House in Cromer say they would rather move out than be without their beloved pets after receiving a letter of demand from Watsons Property of Norwich.
Esme Gubbins, lives there with 14-year-old daughter, Salima. They have a one-year-old English toy terrier, Eddy, who Miss Gubbins said was a great help to Salima, who has ME and anxiety issues, and attends school online.
She said: 'It's very stressful. Salima only used go out if she absolutely had to so I got the dog, and now she goes out with Eddy.'
Miss Gubbins, who rents the flat, said she would rather move than give up Eddy, but that seemed impossible in the time frame allowed.
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Another resident, Zoe Jeffries, said: 'I've got a dog called Rusty. I don't know what I'm going to do.'
Residents in the 42 flats in Prince of Wales Road either own their properties or lease from other owners, but the freehold on the land is owned by Roughton-based Norfolk Property Services, run by Alistair Dunnett.
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There is a clause in the lease with the freeholder - which the owners of the individual flats signed - saying: 'No bird, dog or other animal shall be kept in the premises without the written consent of the lessor which may be withdrawn at any time.'
But the clause does not appear to have been enforced until now.
Mr Dunnett said residents who had previously been given written permission to keep pets could keep them, but no new permissions would be granted.
He said he had received complaints about noise from pets, and said he did not think cats and dogs should be kept there.
Mr Dunnett said: 'They are not really suitable to be kept in flats. If they have written permission, that's fine.'
The letter from Watsons, dated February 28, said: 'We would appreciate confirmation that your pet has been removed permanently from the property within the next 28 days,' and that failure to comply could: 'result in formal proceedings being instructed by a solicitor which could have a detrimental effect on your tenure of the lease and any mortgage product you have in place.'
Miss Gubbins said they could not understand why the freeholder would be concerned with pets, as they were only responsible for the land itself and the fabric of the building. She said: 'What damage could a cat or a dog do to that?'