Couple lose court battle to keep pet dog in their luxury penthouse

A couple have lost their legal fight to keep their "lovely" pet dog in their penthouse apartment.

Gabby and Florian Kuehn were banned from keeping Vinnie, their Maltese Yorkshire terrier cross, at their flat in Limehouse, east London after they moved there in 2015.

The pair took their case to the High Court in London, challenging an earlier decision which ordered them to remove Vinnie from the property.

But they were left disappointed after Sir Geoffrey Vos ruled on Tuesday that there was nothing wrong with the decision.

Mrs Kuehn, 46, a recruitment consultant, and her 43-year-old banker husband were originally given permission by their landlord to keep Vinnie at their flat in Victory Place, a gated residential development.

Vinnie, a Yorkshire Maltese cross belonging to Gabby and Florian Kuehn, who is not allowed to live with them (Handout/PA)
Vinnie, a Yorkshire Maltese cross belonging to Gabby and Florian Kuehn, who is not allowed to live with them (Handout/PA)

But the Victory Place management company (VPMC), which represents residents in the gated 146-flat complex, said there was a no-pets policy as part of the lease, except in "special circumstances".

Despite the couple arguing there was a "therapeutic benefit" gained from living with Vinnie, the company's board of directors refused to let him live on the premises.

The board reached its decision after more than 70 leaseholders voted in favour of the "no pets" policy, while only the Kuehns voted against.

The couple fought against the decision, but VPMC won an injunction to have Vinnie removed at the Mayor's & City of London Court in February last year.

Judge Donald Cryan said the couple's case "comes down to 'I love my dog'", but said that did not mean they should be given permission for him to live in the flat.

Challenging that ruling, the couple's lawyers argued the board had "pre-determined" their decision to refuse the couple permission to keep Vinnie and the decision-making process was therefore unfair.

But, dismissing their appeal, Sir Geoffrey said he was not persuaded the management company had a "closed mind" or adopted an unfair process.

He said: "Context is crucial. The context here was that the board was carrying out the wishes of the majority of the lessees at Victory Place in making clear that it would enforce a 'no pets' rule, to the possibility of which prospective tenants were alerted by the covenant in the leases."

He added: "The reality is that, in a management company like VPMC, the views of the lessees who are its members are important."

Speaking after the ruling, Mrs Kuehn said: "Obviously, this is very disappointing, as although this case was about our dog that we love very much, it was also about standing up to management companies that took no account of the rights or feelings of an individual leaseholder.

"We took a stand against a company that we feel rode rough shod over our rights and spared no expense in pursuing us despite their failure to consider our application to keep Vinnie and from the beginning treated us in a high-handed and dismissive manner."

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