Renting with Pets

Britain is the land of pet lovers; in fact 48% of the population owns a pet and one in five households has a pet. Needless to say, 79% of private renters with pets have said that they have had problems renting a property because of their animals.

On the flip side of the coin, many landlords are reluctant to have pet loving tenants as they feel that they are taking a risk and that their property could be damaged – carpets torn or stained, woodwork scratched etc, or other residents in the vicinity could be disturbed by yapping dogs or fighting cats.

When you begin your search for a new rental property you will find that 'pet friendly' ones are usually clearly indicated. It is well worth checking if there are any restrictions on what type of animals are allowed in your chosen property as landlords often make restrictions on size, breed and even weight of animals.

Before you view the property it is well worth preparing a file of your pet's documentation as this conveys to your prospective landlord that you take your pet seriously and that the animal is well carried for. In the file you should have -

  • Documents showing that your pet has current vaccinations.
  • Details of your pet's microchip.
  • A certificate that your pet has been spayed/neutered.
  • Full contact details for your vet.
  • A current photograph of your pet.
  • Pedigree documents.
  • Pet insurance.
  • A letter of reference for your pet from your previous landlord.

Take this folder and show it to your prospective landlord and be very honest and upfront about your pet. You could also take photographs of your current property to prove what a good condition you are keeping it in!

You will find that most landlords ask for a second security deposit for your pet and this deposit is dealt with in exactly the same way as the main deposit. A professional inventory is essential, written and photographic details at the outset prevent a tenant (or their pet!) being blamed for damage there before they moved in. Conversely, it also allows a landlord to make a claim on the deposit should something have been damaged during the letting.

In the terms & conditions your landlord will outline exactly what is expected from your pet. Good behaviour in the rental property is essential and the landlord will be keen to know that the animal is totally house-trained and well behaved. If the property has a garden, you will need to ensure that it is properly enclosed and will have to demonstrate that you clear up any mess left by your pet – especially if it is a communal garden. Your landlord will be keen to see that your pet is well behaved and not likely to bark or howl if left on his own in the property.

If you have started your tenancy without a pet but halfway through your tenancy you feel that you would like to have one, it is best to ask the landlord first for their thoughts on the subject as it is totally inappropriate to try and smuggle your pet in. If you are hoping to have a cat and need to have a cat flap fitted, most landlords agree to this, although some may request that you replace the door at the end of your tenancy.

To help convince your landlord that your cat will cause no problem, suggest that you will install a cat flap that only opens when it recognises the microchip of your cat as this will reassure him / her that you are protecting the property. If you are moving in with a dog, don't forget that a sign must be displayed to warn that there is a dog on the premises.

More than anything else, your new landlord wants to be confident that their property will not be damaged nor local residents upset and if you cannot control your pet properly, then you can expect to face eviction. A good source of information can be found on the website