Can I Rent if I Have a Pet?

There are millions of us in the UK who live with a cat and/or a dog. Or even a guinea pig, bearded dragon or house rabbit.  

However, the majority of people who own a pet live in their own property for which they have a mortgage. In other words, they aren’t tenants living in rented accommodation owned by another individual. An individual who isn’t a fan of animals.  

Many landlords object to having tenants moving in with pets – especially the larger pets, such as cats, dogs and house rabbits. The reason for this is pretty understandable – cats and dogs in particular can scratch skirting boards and chew tables, chairs etc. Cats claws are particularly adept at ripping fabric on sofas and cushions etc.  

Not all pets carrying out these home wrecking actions, of course. Pets can be taught to refrain from scratching and chewing using a number of clever techniques, such as spraying the items with an odour they dislike, or using behavioural commands. But if a landlord has never been a pet owner themselves, or new a rowdy one in their childhood, then chances are they are going to put in a ‘no pets’ clause in the Tenancy Agreement. 

The biggest pain for landlords when a pet does end up chewing the skirting boards, furniture etc, is having to redecorate and replace these items. And yes, the money can be deducted from the occupier’s Tenancy Deposit when they do move out. But, the time replacing and redecorating the property is money lost due to not having a tenant in the meantime. 

Can a Landlord Legally Say No Pets?

Many landlords put a ‘no pets’ clause into their Tenancy Agreements. What this means, in effect, is that should a tenant ignore his or her wishes and introduce a pet to the flat, then the tenant can be evicted. This is often possible is a tenant breaks one or two property clauses. 

Landlords Who Like Pets 

There are, of course, landlords who are animal lovers – lots of them, in fact. You just have to know where to find them. Actually, most online letting sites these days have a checklist of requirements, meaning you can search only for properties that allow pets. 

More and more landlords are definitely coming around to the idea of signing up tenants with pets. That’s because they tend to be better tenants in the sense that they stay around for longer. They also tend to take extra-good care of the property, aware that the landlord will be looking out for scratch marks and tears carried out by the dog or cat. And, finally, many tenants are happy to pay that bit more for rent if they get to bring Zeus or Socks along with them. 

But, what if you’ve found a property you love and the landlord seems to be ambivalent about pets ie there isn’t a ‘no pets’ clause in the Tenancy Agreement, but he or she has never really encouraged it either. Well, there’s no harm in negotiating. If you never ask, you never get, after all. 

If you’ve kept pets in the past while living in previous tenancies then you could always ask for a reference from a past landlord to show to the new one. Another tactic is to take your dog along to the property to meet the landlord. Hopefully your fluffy pal will be so adorable that your potential new landlord will fall for them and tell you that “you must move in with your dog. Absolutely!” Just remember to give Fido a big bone afterwards while you’re having your celebratory glass of prosecco. 

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