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Renting with Pets: The Tenant’s Guide

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

In Britain we love our pets! The only problem is, landlords don’t tend to love them quite as much.

But, with over half of the UK’s population owning a pet, and nearly 1 in 5 of us renting our home, rentals that allow animals are in high demand.

So, how can you make your move a little easier? Here’s some advice on renting with pets.

Why is it hard to find a pet-friendly landlord?

When renting with pets, you’ll need to bear in mind the landlord or agency’s position. Put yourself in their shoes.

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. Therefore, it’s easy to see why avoiding the hassle altogether might be the more attractive option.

Finding a property to rent with pets

Pet-friendly rentals are a hot topic, as many hopeful tenants often struggle to find somewhere to live. In fact - this number is as high as 78%!

Many leasehold properties have specific pets clauses preventing the keeping of animals.

This isn’t to say privately renting with pets is impossible. However, rented properties that allow pets often have more complicated leases! Or, a landlord will allow cats but not dogs, for example.

Some tenants find themselves forced to:

  • Give their pet away
  • Temporarily re-home them with family or friends
  • Give them to a shelter

The issue around pets is somewhat surprising when you consider that pet owners tend to be more responsible, and looking for long-term tenancies.

Advice for renting with pets

Despite the difficulties, there are ways to keep both you and your potential landlord happy.

It might involve some compromises on your side, but you should be able to find the right property for you and your animal friend.

Start looking for a property early

Pet-friendly properties do exist, however, they’re a little more difficult to find.

For this reason, don’t leave house hunting until the last minute! The process could take longer than you think! The last thing you want is to waste time researching properties, only to find they don’t accept pets.

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.

Consider the property itself

The type of property matters!

Landlords with houses or ground floor properties are more likely to accept pets as there’s easy access to the outside space.

Are there any pet-friendly features on show? Consider whether this is the right home for you.

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.

If a landlord allows a pet to live in their property, there will usually be specific clauses drawn up in the tenancy agreement.

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. If you can show you’re responsible enough to prevent any potential damage, you will prove you’re a favourable tenant.

Of course, this isn’t an option for every tenant, particularly those on a budget. However, it can help put the landlord at ease.

Be flexible

If you’re intent on keeping your four-legged, feathered or amphibian friend, this might require a few compromises on your side.

If you find something outside your preferred location, but it allows pets, it’s worth considering.

Prepare to pay more

Unfortunately - you may have to accept your rent will be a little higher than expected.

Provide information on your pet

Don’t be surprised if you’re asked what kind of pet you have and how old they are. 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)

This will not only help show the landlord that you’re a responsible tenant - but will also give them an insight into your pet.

Allow them to meet your pet

References are one thing, however, a potential landlord will gain much more from meeting your pet.

Allow them to judge its cleanliness and behaviour. This will help put their minds at rest! Arrange a meeting more than once if possible.

Agree to a professional clean

Keeping a rental property clean is key to being a good tenant! However, keeping a rented property clean is even more essential when you own a pet.

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, it can be required to ensure 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.

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. You don’t want to get saddled with additional costs should the agent or landlord claim they knew nothing about you having a pet.

Pets allowed to rent - what to do next

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.

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