Most landlords do not automatically agree to renting a property if you have a pet. However, if you found a suitable house, there are ways to convince the landlord to allow you to move in with your pet. The principle of no pets is often assessed on the circumstances of each situation.
In this article, we share our top tips on what to do when you’re a pet owner and want to rent.
What does the law say?
At the moment of writing this article, the law in force states that it is at landlord’s discretion whether to allow tenants to have pets.
In January 2021, the government published a revised Model Tenancy Agreement which includes a clause that landlords should consent to tenants having pets unless it is unreasonable for them to do so.
If a landlord decides to use the Model Tenancy Agreement as the agreement governing the tenancy, they cannot issue a blanket ban on pets. If a tenant requests, the landlord's consent will be the default position unless objected to in writing within 28 days from the date of the request.
Under the Model Tenancy Agreement, rejections should only be made where there is good reason, for example where the property is small or if it’s a flat where owning a pet could be impractical.
To ensure landlords are protected, tenants will continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property.
Remember — landlords might not be super happy about dogs, especially big ones, but a house-trained indoor cat, guinea pig or a goldfish are more likely to get landlord’s consent.
No matter your circumstances, you must always ask the landlord that you are either looking to rent with a pet, or if you’re an existing tenant, that you’d like to get a pet.
If the landlord consents, they are likely to ask you to agree to an additional set of terms to your tenancy agreement relating to the pet. For example, that the pet will be well looked after, the property will be kept tidy to avoid any unpleasantries related to animals and that if any damage occurs during the duration of your tenancy, you, as a pet owner, will make it good before moving out.
As a pet owner, you will also be expected to make sure your pet does not become a nuisance to neighbours.
Do not keep a pet without the landlord's consent
If you do not disclose your pet to your landlord and they discover it through property inspections or complaints from neighbours, it will amount to a breach of your tenancy agreement which could then lead to eviction.
Potential grounds for refusal
Landlords might be concerned with a number of things when it comes to letting properties to tenants with pets.
The most obvious concern is damage to the property. If a pet owner is irresponsible, damage can occur to floors, carpets, wiring and furniture (if the property is rented furnished). The costs of rectifying that damage could be high, so landlords may not grant their consent.
Repit tip: As a tenant, you can negotiate and offer to insert additional terms to your tenancy agreement where any damage caused by your pet would be your responsibility before moving out.
If you’re unsure how to approach this — ask Repit and our experienced team can get in touch with your landlord for you.
Another common reason is that landlords fear infestation — some pets must be regularly treated for fleas and other parasites, otherwise the property may become infected resulting in considerable costs in expert treatment to eradicate it.
Repit tip: You can show your landlord the pet’s health history as evidence that you take care of fleas and other parasite treatments regularly.
Since January 2021, the government has been encouraging landlords to allow tenants to rent with pets through their Model Tenancy Agreement.
In order to strengthen your case to rent with a pet, Repit recommends creating a pet CV, obtaining references from your vet and previous landlords and negotiating an additional set of terms for the tenancy agreement.
If you are unsure how to approach this, the team at Repit has considerable experience in handling issues relating to pets in rented properties so get in touch and we will sort it for you!