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PETS IN TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION POLICY

MAIDSTONE BOROUGH COUNCIL

JULY 2018

Maidstone Borough Council recognises that our homeless applicants may need to keep pets whilst being housed in accommodation under the Homelessness statute. Where possible Maidstone Council will endeavour to accommodate your household where it is suitable and permitted for pets. For the purpose of the homelessness legislation pets are not considered to be part of your household. If no properties are available where a pet is allowed to reside then the pet will not be taken into consideration when making a suitable offer of temporary accommodation.  By way of explanation the Homelessness Code of Guidance states:

“Housing authorities will need to be sensitive to importance of pets to some applicant, particularly elderly people, rough sleepers who may rely on pets for companionship. Although it will not always be possible to make provisions for pets, the secretary of state recommends that housing authorities give careful consideration to this aspect when making provision for applicants who wish to retain their pet”

Whilst under this policy you have been permitted to home your pet(s) with you in your temporary accommodation. You may be offered accommodation to end the Council’s housing duty to you where the landlord is a housing association or private landlord. The housing provider is likely to have their own policy as to whether pets are permitted in their accommodation and the Council does not have the authority to overrule their decision. In normal circumstances if you were to be offered accommodation where pets are not permitted, the offer of accommodation would not be considered as an unsuitable offer on the basis that your pet could not join you.

This policy aims to clarify:

·         What pets you can or cannot keep at your property

·         How we expect them and your home to be looked after; ensuring the well-being of the pet and the community you live in.

Pets that (may be) permitted to stay:

1)      Dogs

2)      Cats

3)      Fish

4)      Caged Birds

5)      Small caged animals (e.g hamsters/ rabbits).

Allowing your pet to stay in the temporary accommodation

The following rules apply to allow you to keep your pet in the property with you;

·         You must not allow animals kept at a property to cause a nuisance to other people.

o   Nuisance can be caused, although not exclusively, by noise, odour, fouling or lack of proper supervision and control. The latter may also result in injury to persons as well as damage to property. This can affect neighbours, council employees or contractors and other people in the locality.

 

·         Sign the MBC pet’s contract

·         Pay a service charge which will assist Council in ensuring the  protection of the condition of the property

o   Those whose pet is for medical purposes and with confirmation of this will not be charged for this.

·          Any fouling caused by your pet must be cleaned up straight away.

·         Pets will not be allowed in accommodation that is classed as shared accommodation.  If permission is not given we will offer advice and support on possible rehousing.

·         No farm animals (such as Pigs, Chickens) will be allowed to be kept in the accommodation.

·         You must take all reasonable measures to ensure that their dog does not escape from your control.

·         MBC expects applicants to take responsibility, not only for ensuring that the needs of any pets that are kept at the property are met, but also for making sure that their pets do not cause a hazard, nuisance or annoyance to other people, damage to property or injury to persons.

·         Breeding of animals is not permitted.

 

·         We would require cats are neutered and micro-chipped.

·         Dogs

o   The dog wears a collar and tag with the owner’s name and address and ideally a telephone number when in a public place and is micro chipped; (Micro chipping is a legal requirement from 6 April 2016 under The Micro chipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015). MBC will provide a new dog tag for your dog under its temporary accommodation address.

o   Vaccinations and treatment for fleas and worms are kept up-to-date.

o   The dog is not left alone for long periods, it is regularly exercised according to its needs and it does not bark continuously or at un-social hours.

o    The property and garden are kept clean and free of the dog’s faeces by the frequent and hygienic removal of all animal waste.

o   The dog is kept under proper control in your home, a private place such as a neighbour’s house or garden and a public place, so that it does not: stray onto other people’s property and/or more widely in the neighbourhood/locality; and/or cause damage to property or injury to a person, animal or pet.

 

 

 

Number of animals permitted:

We will allow you to have the maximum of:

1)      One dog** and one cat, or two cats and no dog.

2)      Two caged animals

3)      Reasonable amount of caged birds

**No dog must be kept at the property which is of a breed that is banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act. This includes the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero

Animals we do not allowed to be kept under the policy.

We do not allow applicants to keep wild animals, livestock or farm animals, endangered species or any dogs identified in the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, or any subsequent legislation. In addition, animals registered under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976, which includes venomous snakes, certain types of spider and various breeds of monkey, are not permitted in Maidstone Council Properties.

Keeping Pets without Permission

If you keep a pet(s) in the emergency accommodation without first requesting permission from the Council it will be a breach of your licence. You will be issued with a warning and you must rehome your pet(s) within 14 days and failure to do so may mean that the Council will ask you to leave the accommodation.

If someone complains about your pet

If we receive complaints of nuisance behaviour about a pet or other animal living at any property, we will treat this as an anti-social behaviour complaint. We will first ask you to resolve any problems yourself. If you don’t, we will consider withdrawing permission to keep the pet and take enforcement action to resolve the issue as a breach of licence conditions.

This includes any:

·         Fouling staircases, walkways, courtyards, any communal areas or dwellings including your own property.

·         Injuring or frightening anyone into thinking they might be injured (by the pet).

·         Being out of control or a danger to other residents.

·         Making a noise that causes or is likely to cause alarm, distress or harassment to others.

·         Failing to comply with the terms of any dog control notice or similar notice issued by the relevant authority.

·         Not keeping your home and surrounding areas in good condition.

If MBC withdraw permission for your pet to remain at the property and you do not remove it, your temporary accommodation will be cancelled and no further temporary accommodation will be offered to you.

Leaving your Accommodation

When leaving the temporary accommodation you must leave the accommodation in the condition that it was provided to you. All equipment relating to your animal (cages, kennels, and Litter trays) will need to be removed from the property. All carpets will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Ensure any litter trays, cages, or dog’s faeces are disposed of hygienically.

If you are granted permission to keep a cat or dog at the Council emergency accommodation you will be responsible at the end of your stay for ensuring that all the carpets are professionally cleaned. You must give a receipt for this work to the Temporary Accommodation Officer when the keys are returned to the Council. Should this not be done, the Council will arrange a professional carpet clean and charge you for the full cost

Responsible Pet Ownership

A pet owner is responsible for the welfare of their animal by law and must take such steps as are reasonable in all circumstances to ensure that the needs of the animal for which he or she is responsible are met to the extent required by good practice (Section 9, Animal Welfare Act 2006). This includes the provision of a suitable environment for the animal, which maybe with or apart from other animals and ensuring that the animal has the ability to express normal behaviour which may include the provision of regular exercise e.g. dog walking. An appropriate diet must also be provided as well as protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

If we believe that a pet at the property has been neglected or abandoned, we will report the case to an appropriate animal welfare organisation.

 

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