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My neighbours are offended by the pheasants hanging outside my porch... what is the law regarding hanging pheasants at my rental property? Solicitor Nick Playford replies
Q: After a phone call from my landlord, I’ve been informed that hanging my pheasants outside our porch is offending the neighbours and is a breach of our contract. I’ve looked through the contract and there is no sign of any clause stating I can’t hang my pheasants outside the house. Please could you inform me on the current laws on where you can and can’t hang your pheasants.
NICK PLAYFORD of MFG SOLICITORS replies: It would be reasonable to expect a fairly rudimentary tenancy agreement to include certain covenants on behalf of both the landlord and tenant.
While one might not expect to see such a specific covenant of not hanging pheasants outside the front door, it is likely that the tenancy agreement would contain more generic clauses which would have the same effect. These may include, for example, a covenant not to cause a nuisance or annoyance to occupiers of neighbouring properties and not to use the property for a purpose which invalidates the landlord’s insurance.
In law, the location of the property and the duration and frequency of hanging the birds outside the house would all be relevant factors to ascertain a clear legal answer whether the act would constitute nuisance.
The court would assess the nuisance according to the effect on a reasonable, rather than a hypersensitive, claimant. A one-off act of hanging pheasant outside (in a rural location) would probably not constitute an act of nuisance, but, in reality, people would look twice and the act would probably be prohibited by the generic clauses of the tenancy agreement.
You must remember that others may have different views to your own. It’s entirely conceivable that the act would cause distress to neighbours and could be seen by many as antisocial. My advice is to avoid confrontation in an industry which already has its critics. Be discreet, as you can’t be home all the time and the regular hanging of pheasants is a potential signpost that you have firearms at home.
In short, hanging pheasants like this probably won’t win you many friends. It will give ammunition to those with strong opposing views and could lead to a personal or property affront – the latter of which might not please your landlord too much!
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