Wondering how to rent with pets?
With over half of UK adults owning a pet, and nearly 1 in 5 of us renting our home, rentals that allow animals are in high demand. The government has recently changed the rules to make life easier for tenants.
Here’s some advice.
Why is it hard to rent with pets?
Pet-friendly landlords are hard to come by. In fact, just 7% of private landlords currently advertise pet-friendly properties. There are a number of assumed negatives associated with animals. Pets can cause damage to a property, or annoy the neighbours due to noise and odours. It’s easy to see why avoiding the hassle altogether might be the more attractive option.
Latest government changes to help those renting with pets
The government’s new standard tenancy agreement makes it easier for renters with pets. As of 28th January 2021, the Model Tenancy Agreement now allows responsible tenants with well-behaved pets to secure leases more easily:
- Landlords are now no longer able to issue ‘blanket bans’
- Consent for pets will be the default position
- Landlords will have to object to pets (in writing) within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and give a good reason for this objection
The hope is that this will find the right balance between helping tenants find the right home for them – and ensuring landlords’ properties are protected from badly behaved pets.
How to rent a house with pets
Even with the new Model Tenancy Agreement, pet-friendly rentals could be harder to come by. Here’s some advice:
1.Start looking for a property early
Don’t leave house hunting until the last minute, the process can take longer than you may think.
The last thing you want is to waste time researching properties, only to find they don’t accept pets for a legitimate reason.
Some property portals offer the option to filter your search to deliver results where pets are accepted. This will help you narrow down your options.
2.Consider the property itself
Landlords with houses or ground floor properties are more likely to accept pets, as there’s easy access to the outside space. You should also make sure the property is pet-friendly; will you furry friend be happy there?
3.Agree to pay a pet deposit
There are a number of reasons for deposit deductions, with damage to the property being one of the main ones.
These clauses are in place to cover any eventualities, and you may be required to pay a pet deposit. This can either be an separate amount, or you may be asked to simply pay a higher deposit. These are often non-refundable.
It might be a good idea to offer to pay a higher amount – especially if the landlord is reluctant. This may show you’re a responsible tenant prepared to mitigate against damage.
Of course, this isn’t an option for every tenant, particularly those on a budget.
If you find something outside your preferred location, but it allows pets, it’s worth considering. Pet friendly properties can mean compromising.
5.Prepare to pay more
Unfortunately – you may have to accept your rent will be a little higher than expected. Specific pets clauses may be drawn up in the tenancy agreement.
6.Provide information on your pet
Some landlords won’t accept puppies or kittens as they may cause more damage.
It might sound strange, but you may want to put together a pet ‘CV’. This should contain details on:
- The age/gender of your pet
- General behaviour
- Reference from your vet
- Reference from previous landlord (if applicable)
7.Allow them to meet your pet
References are one thing, however, a potential landlord will gain much more from meeting your pet.
If you pet is well-behaved, this will help put their minds at rest.
8.Agree to a professional clean
Keeping a rental property clean is key to being a good tenant! However, for tenants with pets, this is even more essential.
If a landlord allows you to keep a pet, there might be a clause at the end of your tenancy for the property to be professionally cleaned. This may also include getting it fumigated.
While it may sound extreme, pet owners can be required to do a thorough clean of the property for any future tenancy. This isn’t unreasonable when you think the next tenant may be allergic to animal hair.
9.Don’t try and hide your pet
If the landlord finds out you’re in breach of your tenancy agreement, you could be faced with eviction.
Also, get written permission from the landlord or the letting agent, confirming you’re allowed to bring your pet with you.
How to prevent pet damage in your home
Of course, even with the government’s new standard tenancy agreement, it’s important to ensure your pets don’t cause damage – or you could risk deposit deductions. Some ways to prevent, or reduce, damage include:
- Provide scratching posts
- Ensure your pets aren’t bored
- Break separation anxiety
- Ensure pets are housetrained
- Have enough litter boxes in the right places
- Protect furniture (e.g. plastic covers)
- Leave them with toys to play with
- Leave the radio on when you go out
- Invest in self-fetch toys for dogs
- Ensure your cat can get in and out as it pleases
What to do now
Once the landlord is satisfied, you will receive permission, usually confirmed in the tenancy agreement or by separate letter. This will often allow only one pet to live in the property.
Renting in a new area? Arm yourself with the facts – as knowledge is power. Find out more with Phil Spencer’s Property Report, with information on everything from crime rates to schools. Get your report here.