renting with pets

If you're a pet owner looking to rent, you may have noticed how difficult that can be. In fact, surveys found that pet owners take on average 7 times as long to find a new home to rent as non-pet owners!

One of the reasons for the blanket 'no pets' clauses that so many landlords apply, is the Tenant Fees Act 2019 which banned landlords and agents from taking a higher deposit from pet owners.

Faced with the prospect of the additional damage animals can potentially do to a property, many decided not to take the risk.

Here at Baillie White Letting Agents, we have recently been seeing a lot of confusion around this topic due to some attention grabbing headlines surrounding the Government Standard Tenancy Agreement; but it's just muddying the water for everyone. It's a classic case of lots of people reading a headline without really understanding the context. In reality, this will only apply if your landlord is self-managing and uses the downloadable government template tenancy, it is worthwhile noting that the vast majority do not- they will have their AST drawn up by a property professional, and it's still perfectly legal to add a 'no pets' clause to these.

But, don't abandon all hope just yet!

The truth is, if you're an excellent tenant already in a rental property, and you ask for a pet, your landlord will most likely say yes rather than lose you as a tenant. If they object, ask why and try to understand their reasons. Perhaps there is some agreement you can reach together such as a written promise to have the carpets professionally cleaned at the end of your tenancy, or to agree to additional property visits to ensure no damage is being caused.

If you are a new tenant looking to rent with a pet, the onus is on you to prove that you are a responsible pet owner and tenant, as it's an extra level of risk for the landlord. It's still perfectly legal for landlords to accept a slightly increased monthly rent to cover pet owners, so think about whether you could afford to offer £30-40 pcm above the advertised rent.

Part of the problem of course, is that prospective landlords don't know your pet like you do! They are concerned that if they say yes to pets, whilst accepting Mr Bigglesworth, your 14 year old persian cat, they might also be saying yes to a 6 month old Rottweiler puppy who is going to chew his way through everything from the skirting boards up when he's left home alone for 8 hours a day...!

So how can we remedy this? We need to provide a prospective landlord with as MUCH information on which to base the decision as possible. If you have a dog walker, mention it. If your pet has had training, add that too! Be honest, but present them in their best light.

Many landlords are animal lovers too, and I can promise we are most definitely all human!

So what do you think? Let's have a look at your pet's CV! This is one I made for our dog Alabama:

And here's the editable version, so you can create your own!