Renting with pets

Renting with pets

Making a house a home can be even easier when you have a pet, but it isn’t without its risks. Landlords reserve the right to prevent pets from being in their properties, but that doesn’t mean pet owners can’t rent with a pet.

No pets allowed

Most rented properties may state ’no pets allowed‘ on the description - but be aware, this may not be set in stone. If you believe the property would be suitable for you and your pet, then discuss openly with the letting agent or landlord about whether they would allow you to keep a pet; be sure to use the tips on this page to strengthen your case.

Remember, the reason landlords aren’t keen on having pets in their property is because of the risks. Pets can lead to dirty conditions, lingering smells, pest infestations and complaints from neighbours. As a tenant, it is your job to prevent the risks and convince your landlord you will act responsibly.

Pet CV and references

According to Lets with Pets, a CV and references for your pet will help fight your case for renting with a pet. Your pets age, breed, behaviour, training; recent vaccinations, flea and working treatments and a reference from your vet and/or previous landlord will give your current landlord or letting agent a clear picture of what your pet will be like in the property.

Although this will more commonly be for cats and dogs, other animals will benefit from a reference as well; the more information your landlord has, the more likely they will be to accept your pet.

After all, small animals like hamsters or rabbits can be known to chew through wires; fish and aquariums pose a risk to a property if the water spills and landlords are less likely to know how more exotic animals, like lizards or snakes, will behave.

By providing a clear picture of how the pet will behave in the property, you can reassure your landlord that you are a responsible pet owner, and that there will be little or no damage to their property.

Good practice is to give contact details for your vet and someone who can care for your pet in an emergency, as well as the number of hours you will be away from the pet during the day or night.

Meet the landlord

If you are able, try introducing your pet to your landlord or letting agent in person, so they can see how they behave for themselves. If your pet is well behaved and you come across as a responsible pet owner, it will help you convince them to allow your pet in the home.

This can apply to any pet, as the landlord can see how the animal will be kept in the property and how it behaves around the property in general.

It will also give both the tenant and landlord the chance to see if the property is suitable for the pet; for example that the property is large enough for a pet to run around, that there is space in the property for a cage, hutch or aquarium or that the pet will live in the property without chewing, scratching or soiling anything.

Pet deposit (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)

On top of your security deposit, a landlord or letting agent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can ask for an additional pet deposit, to cover any potential damage caused by the pet at the end of the tenancy.

Like your security deposit, this is refundable and should be held in a protected tenancy deposit scheme; it simply acts as an extra bit of insurance for the landlord.

Pet rent (England)

Since the Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force on 1 June 2019 landlords and letting agents in England are only able to take a tenancy deposit of up to five weeks rent for the duration of the tenancy.

Since the deposit is now capped, landlords and letting agents can instead charge you extra rent for having a pet, to mitigate any potential, additional damage caused, since the extra rent can be used by the landlord to pay for any repairs or refurbishment needed during or after the tenancy.

A tenant must be informed of any increased rent they may have to pay to have a pet, and the landlord can refuse a pet if you don’t agree to pay the higher rent.

Rabbits and hens

According to Section 12 of the Allotments Act 1950, tenants can keep hens or rabbits on their property, as long as they do not cause any health issues and are not a nuisance. You are also not allowed to keep them for business purposes (such as breeding or selling eggs).

We would still, however, recommend you ask your landlord first before bringing any animal into the property and follow your tenancy agreement.

Follow the rules

If you move into a property that doesn’t allow pets, do not get a pet without your landlord’s permission. There will likely be a clause in your tenancy agreement that says you cannot keep pets. If you break this, it can be used as grounds for eviction.

If you have a pet, your landlord may also put in additional clauses in your tenancy agreement related to owning a pet, such as making sure it doesn’t foul in the garden or inside the property, not leaving it alone in the property for too long and cleaning the property thoroughly before the end of the tenancy.

Any damage to the property or extra cleaning that needs to be undertaken by the landlord can be deducted from your deposit. Best practice is to read and follow your tenancy agreement clearly.

Use an ARLA Propertymark Agent

Letting agents that display the ARLA Propertymark logo are professional and qualified to deal with all sorts of enquiries. If you’re looking for a pet-friendly property, they should be able to find a property in your location that will allow pets or talk to the landlord about the possibility of keeping one.

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