Court tussle over no-pets policy as couple battle to keep their dog and their £1m flat
A flat owner is battling in court to keep her dog at her £1 million penthouse apartment after the building’s management claimed that it is not allowed.
Gabrielle Kuehn, 45, and husband Florian, 42, are fighting to stop their terrier, Vinnie, from being evicted from their flat in Limehouse, east London.
They say that they were not told about the policy before they purchased the flat in November 2015, and claim to have instructed estate agents only to show them pet-friendly properties.
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They have also told the court that the freeholders of their flat gave them permission to keep Vinnie by the flat’s freeholders before they moved in.
However, Victory Place – the management company – counters that the entire building has a no pets policy, and the case has ended up in court.
Gabrielle told the court, “When we were looking for a property all the agencies that we were registered with were aware that we had a dog and we were only interested in looking for properties with leases that permitted this.”
She also explained that Vinnie has a ‘therapeutic’ effect on her.
“The reason why I got the dog in the first place, it was a particularly stressful time in my life and there is absolutely no question that my dog has a therapeutic effect.
“I was suffering from anxiety and stress and my dog has a therapeutic effect. I would have considered that to be a special circumstance.”
When the chairwoman of Victory Place, Ewa Jones, asked for medical evidence of this ‘therapeutic effect’, Mrs Kuehn did not provide it, saying, “I don’t believe it was necessary at that time to provide medical information.”
The management company’s representative, Tim Hammond, explained to the court that the residents had voted in February 2016 about whether or not to change the no pets policy; there was only one vote in favour and that was from the Kuehns themselves.
Other residents of the building have made complaints of frequent barking, which the Kuehns refute.
Gabrielle explained, “He does bark occasionally but he stops when he is told to stop. I would not leave my dog constantly barking.”
The hearing is expected to reach its conclusion today; the potential court costs are £80,000 if the Kuehns lose the case.