Nearly Legal was brought up with chickens (not by chickens – a vital distinction. No poultry played a parental role at all. Oh no). After decades, and not a little intensive therapy, the metaphorical, if not the literal, scars seemed to have faded. Immersed in housing law, NL thought himself safe.
But no longer. Thanks to the dastardly efforts of some litigants in person, not even housing law is chicken-free. Natasha Brooks and her cousin Stuart Cole (for the guilty shall be named), of Manchester, foiled the brave attempts of her landlord, New Charter Housing Trust, to stop her keeping two hens in her garden. New Charter took the view that the hens, named Henny and Penny, were not allowed under the tenancy agreement.
But New Charter backed off when Ms Brooks, aided by Mr Cole, discovered and waved at them what Inside Housing call the Provision of Allotment Act 1950, but I think must be the Allotments Act 1950 and specifically s.12
12 Abolition of contractual restrictions on keeping hens and rabbits.
(1)Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in any lease or tenancy or in any covenant, contract or undertaking relating to the use to be made of any land, it shall be lawful for the occupier of any land to keep, otherwise than by way of trade or business, hens or rabbits in any place on the land and to erect or place and maintain such buildings or structures on the land as reasonably necessary for that purpose:
Provided that nothing in this subsection shall authorise any hens or rabbits to be kept in such a place or in such a manner as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance or affect the operation of any enactment.
To my horror, this provision has not been repealed. Nor does the Act define lease, tenancy or land in such a way as to limit it to allotments.
After a long and sleepless night, filled with visions of beaks and a chorus of low, menacing clucking, I can see that there will be no option but to start a specialist hen and rabbit related practice. Just don’t bring your chickens to the appointment, please…