Many tenants ask us if having a pet will cause a problem when renting. The answer is that it will not preclude you from renting a property, but could potentially limit the options available to you depending on the specific circumstances.
At the end of the day, we Brits are certainly pet lovers, with almost half the population now owning a pet of some sort. In contrast, on average across the country, under 10% of properties are advertised as available for rent with a pet. That’s a big disparity in demand and supply, making it challenging for renters to find a home for their families and fury friends. Indeed, almost 80% of renters report problems in finding a suitable property.
Previously, many landlords would consider a pet if the tenant was willing to put down a higher deposit to protect against potential damage caused by the pet. However, Since the Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force, landlords and their letting agents are only able to take a deposit of up to five weeks rent. Without the protection of a higher deposit, landlords have generally become more cautious about granting permission.
In addition to property damage, landlords are frequently concerned that a pet could become a nuisance to neighbours. This is especially relevant in blocks of flats, where landlords are likely to have a lease covenant to not ‘create or allow a nuisance’. In such instance, a noisy or misbehaved pet could easily put a landlord in breach of their lease. Also, when it comes to leasehold properties/flats, many blocks have rules that either prohibit the keeping of a pet, or only allow for a pet with the written permission of the block freeholder. In such instances, approval is not purely down to the landlord.
Notwithstanding the above concerns, a significant number of landlords are pet owners themselves and appreciate the pleasure that owning a pet can bring to a family. As a result, many are willing to grant permission providing they can be assured the pet is suitable for the property, is well behaved and well cared for. Also, the data clearly shows that tenants with pets tend to stay put longer, so it is certainly in the landlord’s interests to allow a pet.
So, if you are a tenant with a pet looking for a new property, what steps can you take to improve your chances of finding the right new home?
Firstly, consider the suitability of the property for the pet and vice versa. This is just common sense. A house on a main road, without a garden is unlikely to be a great choice for a cat or dog. Also, a small studio flat probably doesn’t make sense if you own a very large dog, but does make sense for a goldfish! Having given appropriate consideration to the needs of your pet and the attributes of the property you would like to rent then;
Secondly, demonstrate to the landlord that the pet is well looked after and behaved. Ways that you can show this are by providing:
- References from previous landlords that the pet did not cause damage and was well behaved.
- Details of your pets training, age and breed.
- A summary of vaccinations and neutering.
- Details of how often and for how long the pet will be left at home in the property.
Thirdly, agree with the landlord any specific measures you are willing to take that would help mitigate the risk of having a pet at the property. This could include:
- If you can afford it, offer the landlord a little more than the asking rent. This tactic has become even more important following the introduction of the tenant fee bill which has limited the size of deposit a landlord can take as protection against any damage.
- In addition, offer to take specific measures at the end of the tenancy to ensure the property is left in appropriate condition. This might include de-odourising the property and a deep clean of carpets and furniture.
If you do obtain approval to keep a pet, it is important that both the consent and any terms and conditions are documented in the tenancy agreement. It is also important that a detailed inventory of the condition of the property, together with photographs, be conducted at the start of the tenancy. Having a written agreement and a detailed inventory should enable any possible future dispute to be resolved.
As a final point, you should never keep a pet at a rented property unless you have the express permission in writing from your landlord to do so. Keeping a pet without permission will put you in breach of your tenancy agreement and may result in you being evicted from the property. Also, if the property is leasehold, you could well put your landlord in breach of their lease which can have significant consequences.
At Aspire Residential, we have successfully placed many tenants with pets into rented property and we have a large number of landlords who are willing to consider pets. If you are looking for somewhere new to rent for your family and fury friend, then please do get in contact.
Want to know more?
Read more about how to apply to rent through Aspire Residential.
See the answers to questions that we are frequently asked by tenants.
Learn more about your responsibilities as a tenant.