Can I Rent A Home With Pets?

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Renting a home when you have pets can sometimes feel like a daunting task. As a nation of animal lovers, it can be a surprise that finding a pet-friendly rental property can be a bit challenging. However, with the right approach and knowledge, securing a home that welcomes both you and your pets is entirely possible. In this article, we explore why some landlords might be hesitant, the rules, regulations and best practices for tenants looking to rent with pets.

Understanding the Law

First, it’s important to understand what the law says about renting with pets. Currently, there is no statutory right for tenants to keep pets in their rental properties. Landlords can include a clause in the tenancy agreement that prohibits pets altogether. However, the government has encouraged landlords to be more flexible in allowing pets and suggests that consent for pets should be the default position unless there is good reason, such as large pets in small properties or flats, or in properties where having pets could be impractical.

The Model Tenancy Agreement

In January 2021, the UK government revised the Model Tenancy Agreement to make it easier for tenants with pets to find accommodation. This model, which landlords may adopt, suggests that landlords should not unreasonably deny consent for pets. Consent is assumed to be granted unless the landlord objects in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and they must provide a “good reason” for the refusal.

Why can Landlords be Reluctant when it Comes to Pets?

Landlords may have understandable concerns about allowing pets in their properties, given the potential for damage and additional maintenance issues. However, since the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act in 2019, the landscape for renting with pets in England has seen significant changes aimed at balancing these concerns with the benefits of pet ownership. Although landlords cannot request a higher tenancy deposit due to the deposit cap, they are permitted to charge a slightly higher rent if pets are involved. This allows landlords to mitigate potential risks financially without demanding larger upfront costs from tenants. While landlords are not allowed to insist on professional cleaning or specific treatments like de-fleaing at the end of the tenancy, tenants are still responsible for returning the property in the same condition it was at the beginning of their lease. This legislation not only protects tenants from prohibitive costs but also supports landlords in maintaining their properties effectively, ensuring a fair and positive arrangement for all parties involved.

Making Your Case as a Pet-Owning Tenant

When searching for a pet-friendly property, it’s helpful to show potential landlords that you are a responsible pet owner. Here are a few tips:

  • Pet CV: Create a pet CV that includes details about your pet’s breed, age, temperament, and information on how you manage them. Include references from previous landlords and neighbours if possible.
  • Pet Interview: Offer to have a pet interview so the landlord can meet your pet. This can help ease the landlord’s concerns about behaviour and training.
  • Pet Clause: Suggest including a pet clause in your rental agreement that outlines the specific conditions related to the presence of your pet.

Searching for Pet-Friendly Properties

Finding a property that accepts pets can be more straightforward if you use the right resources. Websites like Zoopla and others typically have filters that allow you to search for pet-friendly rentals. Additionally, contacting local letting agencies directly and stating your needs can also open up more options. Let them know from the start that you have pets, as this will save time and help them to help you find suitable properties.

Discussing Pets with Potential Landlords

When you find a potential home, be upfront about your pets. Demonstrating transparency about your pet ownership from the beginning can help establish trust with your landlord. During discussions, be clear about the number and type of pets you own and how you intend to manage them within the property.

Best Practices for Living with Pets in Rental Properties

Once you secure a rental property, maintaining a good relationship with your landlord is crucial:

  • Routine Maintenance: Keep the property clean and free from pet odours. Regular grooming and vet visits for your pet can help minimise health issues and infestations.
  • Immediate Repairs: Address any damage caused by pets immediately. This shows the landlord that you are taking responsibility for your pet’s actions.
  • Regular Updates: Keep your landlord updated about any changes in the number or type of pets you own. This can prevent any breaches of your tenancy agreement.

 While renting with pets might require some extra effort, the joy and companionship that pets bring can make it all worthwhile. By understanding why some landlords might be reluctant, the legal landscape, presenting yourself as a responsible pet owner and using resources effectively, you can increase your chances of finding a welcoming home for you and your pet.