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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in a flat with communal areas - there are a number of buildings that have a number of flats in them. The other day an angry neighbour cam knocking on my door and said that my cat had gone to the toilet in their staircase. He had photographic evidence it was definitely my cat. He demanded that I come clean it up, which I did. He said that if it happens again he will complain to the management company and we will be banned from keeping pets.

There has also apparently been a problem with poo in the outdoor communal areas, and the management company has demanded that we clean up after our pets, or we will not be allowed to keep them. (My cats tend to go indoors in their litter tray and there are a number of other cats and also foxes - but of course I can't say for sure my cats are not ever the culprits)

Obviously I don't want to anger my neighbours, but I don't really know how to solve this problem - clearly somebody is letting the cats in to the stair case without ensuring they can get out - so they poo in the stairwell.

I own my property, but as it is a flat I don't own the leasehold. I pay the management company a huge amount of money each month to maintain communal areas etc.

Where do I stand on this? If my cat fouls communal areas of property, do I legally have to clean it up? Can the management company make cat owners "clean up their cats poo"? Can they forbid me from keeping cats? As everyone knows, it is not possible to train the cats differently...

My flat is small and my cats would be very unhappy to be in, so if this continues I might have to consider selling the flat and moving/rehoming the cats/have them put down (one os a rescue cat and I simply would not have the heart to rehome her again).

I know that there is no legal obligation as such if a cat fouls someone elses garden for example - but what about communal outdoor areas? And indeed communal indoor areas? Of course I told them not to let the cats in the staircase but the angry neighbour just said he wasn't the one to let them in…

I just wondered if anyone knows how to deal with this, and also where I stand on it legally?
 

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Legally or morally ?

If a dog fouls outside it is the owners duty to clear up - you see many signs on lamp posts to this effect, I beleive you have a duty to clear up after your cat.

I would not be happy if I lived in a similar situation and came home to cat crap in the communal aread. If it belongs to your cat you have a duty to your neighbours - alternatively you need to keep the cat indoors.
 

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I would also be dry angry- not only at the poo being there, but the lingering smell from it...
Yes, do do have to clean up after your cats in communal areas; could you not ask for an infra red cat flap to be fitted? If your cat would toilet outside oven the option surely you buying a cat door would solve the issue?
What I really don't understand though is why you would have your cat pts instead of rehoming?
 

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In this situation I think you need to consider keeping your cats indoors on a permanent basis. If the problem continues your neighbours will at least be aware that you are not the cause.
 

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It sounds too simple, but have you considered putting a sign on the communal door asking that cats are not allowed inside? How about installing a cat flap into your front door so that if someone does accidently let your cats into the communal area they can still get into your flat to access their litter trays?
 

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I live in a flat with communal areas - there are a number of buildings that have a number of flats in them. The other day an angry neighbour cam knocking on my door and said that my cat had gone to the toilet in their staircase. He had photographic evidence it was definitely my cat. He demanded that I come clean it up, which I did. He said that if it happens again he will complain to the management company and we will be banned from keeping pets.

There has also apparently been a problem with poo in the outdoor communal areas, and the management company has demanded that we clean up after our pets, or we will not be allowed to keep them. (My cats tend to go indoors in their litter tray and there are a number of other cats and also foxes - but of course I can't say for sure my cats are not ever the culprits)

Obviously I don't want to anger my neighbours, but I don't really know how to solve this problem - clearly somebody is letting the cats in to the stair case without ensuring they can get out - so they poo in the stairwell.

I own my property, but as it is a flat I don't own the leasehold. I pay the management company a huge amount of money each month to maintain communal areas etc.

Where do I stand on this? If my cat fouls communal areas of property, do I legally have to clean it up? Can the management company make cat owners "clean up their cats poo"? Can they forbid me from keeping cats? As everyone knows, it is not possible to train the cats differently...

My flat is small and my cats would be very unhappy to be in, so if this continues I might have to consider selling the flat and moving/rehoming the cats/have them put down (one os a rescue cat and I simply would not have the heart to rehome her again).
I know that there is no legal obligation as such if a cat fouls someone elses garden for example - but what about communal outdoor areas? And indeed communal indoor areas? Of course I told them not to let the cats in the staircase but the angry neighbour just said he wasn't the one to let them in…

I just wondered if anyone knows how to deal with this, and also where I stand on it legally?
You would rather end the cats life than rehome?..do you even have a heart??
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for replies.

My cats have a cat flap - but if someone in the adjacent building lets them in through the communal door without letting them out there is not much I can do - the door needs a key to access so I can't even go there myself to check the cats are not in there.

Of course I don't want to annoy my neighbours, but yes, I would l like to know where we legally stand on situations like this - if other people let my cats in where they can't get out, I don't really see how I can be expected to train the cats from not going to the toilet... There are a lot of cats in these blocks of flats and some neighbours are not happy about it and are not being particularly reasonable so there is increasing worry for cat owners.

Can a management company change the rule re allowing pets? What action can they take?

This thread was not intended for anyone to pass judgement on me re not wanting to re-home - that is an entirely separate issue.
 

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Thank you for replies.

My cats have a cat flap - but if someone in the adjacent building lets them in through the communal door without letting them out there is not much I can do - the door needs a key to access so I can't even go there myself to check the cats are not in there.
If it is not in your building then I don't think you can be held responsible... But with not owning my own flat, I'm not sure about legal stances regarding that

Can a management company change the rule re allowing pets? What action can they take?
I personally would imagine they could change their pet rules if there was reason for it

This thread was not intended for anyone to pass judgement on me re not wanting to re-home - that is an entirely separate issue.
i really don't see it as a completely different subject; the way I see it- it could very well come down to only those responsible dedicated owners are allowed to have animals in the building, and people who cannot prove this would not be allowed. I have heard of that happening.
I'm now starting to think I misread before making my first post- the neighbour that complained isn't in Your building?
 

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The Management company can amend the rules so that pets are banned.

Personally I would set up a webcam and find out who the culprit is for all you know it could be a cat from another neighbourhood - cats travel!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm now starting to think I misread before making my first post- the neighbour that complained isn't in Your building?
No - different building. My development consists of 3 main buildings - you can only access these flats through a communal door (you only have a key to it if you live there). My flat is one of the few that face the communal outdoor area.

So somebody in the other building is letting my cat/s in to their stairwell without letting them out - hence the toilet issue... These buildings are part of the same development though and we have the same management company/tenants association.

I just felt it was very harsh to let my cats into a building with no access for them to get out, and then get so angry when they do a poo to threaten to contact the property maintenance company... obviously it is very unpleasant, I completely appreciate that, but they should also not have been let in there in the first place. Unfortunately the angry neighbour was not the one to let the cats in, so there isn't really a direct cause and effect, just unfortunate...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I can't put a litter tray in those areas, because I don't actually have access to them. And I doubt very much anyone would let me fit a cat flap in a big communal front door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
And of course the other issue is that the management company has already sent letter out saying that pet owners have to clean up after their pets if they go to the toilet in the communal outdoor areas... short of keeping your cats in, this is of course impossible. I do see bits of poo in the car park/on paving slabs and I just don't know any cats that would happily go to the loo like that, think it is much more likely to be foxes but that would indeed be very hard to prove!

I also thought that cat owners couldn't be held legally responsible for their cats pooing in people's gardens for instance - I realise this sounds very callous and obviously I don't want to create animosity - but just wondered if this may be legally differently if it is a communal outdoor area..?
 

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Doesn't matter whether or not it's legal the management company make the rules with regard to your building so if you want to continue living there with your cat or cats then you adhere to the rules.

It's a no brainer really.
 

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Sounds like you have an unusual problem. I wonder if a residents meeting might be an idea if there are several cat owners and different buildings.

I would be very worried about my cat being locked in someone's communal stairwell and being trapped- whether he went to the toilet or not I don't want my boy trapped somewhere like this- what if he encountered a dog or aggressive cat when trapped? This is a bigger worry to me!

As to the neighbour who complained I think you need to say that you are really sorry if your cat has done this BUT also say that you are upset that your cat has been locked in a communal area for god knows how long. Maybe you could ask him to speak to his neighbours about being vigilant and not allowing cats to tailgate through the main entrance in that building.

As far as the legal position it is a bit of a grey area but I would say if you know your cats are causing a nuisance/potential damage/need for cleaning and so on, then do you have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to stop this and if you don't then you may be asked to meet the bill. This doesn't necessarily mean keeping your cats in all the time but could include having a chat with other residents about not allowing cats to come in the communal area so as to prevent the problem happening again.

Just so I understand things, can you explain how your cats get in and out of your flat including the communal area when you aren't there?
 

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Doesn't matter whether or not it's legal the management company make the rules with regard to your building so if you want to continue living there with your cat or cats then you adhere to the rules.

It's a no brainer really.
Can they really amend your contract as and when they want to? Check the paperwork, I presume u signed this when you moved in? Try ringing the free legal advice helpline, Monday nights on LBC radio. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you everyone.

My cats have a cat flap - my front door leads directly on to communal outdoor area. They can only get in to the other building if someone lets them in. (Or they sneak past when someone gets in/out)

I was also wondering if the management can amend rules after I bought the place... I also believe the leaseholders own most of the freehold, so can't imagine a contract change is that easy.., unless it is considered just a management issue? I don't want to cause trouble but one of the reasons I bought the place was because it allowed pets!
 

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Ah I understand now. I think you definitely need to invite a get together to discuss the problem. Really it doesn't matter whether the cat lives on part of the development or down the road; either way, someone is letting a cat into a communal area and getting it stuck. The issue is not you keeping cats on the site, but someone in that other building letting cats in!
 

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Thank you for replies.

My cats have a cat flap - but if someone in the adjacent building lets them in through the communal door without letting them out there is not much I can do - the door needs a key to access so I can't even go there myself to check the cats are not in there.

Of course I don't want to annoy my neighbours, but yes, I would l like to know where we legally stand on situations like this - if other people let my cats in where they can't get out, I don't really see how I can be expected to train the cats from not going to the toilet... There are a lot of cats in these blocks of flats and some neighbours are not happy about it and are not being particularly reasonable so there is increasing worry for cat owners.

Can a management company change the rule re allowing pets? What action can they take?

This thread was not intended for anyone to pass judgement on me re not wanting to re-home - that is an entirely separate issue.
Ms Moo...Have a similar problem with mine. I have a cat flap in my kitchen door, then the back stairs (which was the old tradesmens's entrance) then a cat flap to the outside. However, there is also a firedoor (which legally should be kept closed) at the bottom of the back stairs which leads into the front communal hall. Quite often someone will pin the firedoor open (not allowed to in fact but do) so my cats, instead of going to the second cat flap, go thro the open firedoor and then into the front hall. Someone will then SEE the firdoor open and close it locking any cats in the front hall. I have put a big notice telling people it is against fire regulations to pin the door open, but we still have some idiot who will.
 
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