How to Rent with Pets

Added on February 12th 2021

For many people, their pet is a family member with two (or more) extra legs and fur, feathers or scales. The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association estimated in 2019 that around 40% of the UK’s households had a pet of some kind. However, only 7% of the country’s landlords will consider renting one of their properties to a household with a pet. 

Some landlords worry about the potential damage caused by a tenant’s pet, as well as stains or stubborn smells, whereas some tenants’ groups argue that by welcoming the family pet, the landlord is more likely to retain their tenants for longer.

If you’re looking to rent with pets…

The good news is that the government is aiming to encourage landlords to let properties to responsible pet owners via its model tenancy agreement.

This may work for some tenants in England, but the Residential Landlords Association says that the agreement isn’t a legally-binding requirement to accept pets and that landlords can still refuse them. At present, only assistance dogs (guide, hearing and other service dogs for disabled people) must be accepted by landlords. 

The not-so-good news is that you do find a landlord willing to rent to you and your pet, you may have to pay more rent each month. Your landlord can’t charge any more than six weeks’ rent as deposit because you have an animal with you, but many will add a surcharge or bump up the monthly rent to cover any damage.

Finding a tenancy with a pet

There are landlords out there who will rent to you, though, so here’s how to find them.

Look for tenancies that allow pets

This might seem obvious, but telling your letting agent that you have a particular kind of pet from the start can speed up your search. It’s also important to find a property that can accommodate your pet – a garden for the dog, or one with cat flaps, for example.

Your letting agent can help you negotiate

Landlords are usually OK with pets like hamsters and fish, but cats and dogs may need a bit more work. Your letting agent can negotiate for you and work to find a compromise. 

Get a pet reference

If your previous landlord was almost as fond of your dog as you, then he or she can provide a reference to any potential new landlord. This sort of recommendation from another landlord can be very convincing and shows that you’re the responsible owner of a Good Boy.

Meet the landlord

Your prospective landlord may have lingering images of the undisciplined Labrador who chewed up carpets and skirting boards back in 2011. Meeting you and your best chum and seeing how you interact may well set their mind at ease, especially if you can encourage your dog to shake paws or any other tricks that show he or she is well-trained.

Compile a pet CV

This CV should include any special training your dog has had in the past, as well as references from previous landlords, the details of your vet practice, vaccination schedule and parasite treatment records. We all know cats can’t be trained, so just include details of your vet and anti-parasite treatment dates.

Do not try to hide your pet

You should always have written consent to include your pet in your tenancy and to conceal the animal could put you at risk of eviction as well as ruin any chances of a good reference going forward.

About that written consent

When you find the right landlord, make sure that your tenancy agreement is changed to include your pet. Your landlord may charge a fee for this amendment and it shouldn’t be any more than £50, according to government guidelines.

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