If you are a pet owner and you moved in the UK then you must know what a struggle it is to find a property that accepts you and your pet. Basically Letting Agencies and landlords are hesitant to let pets inside their properties and this happens mostly because they consider pets to be disorderly, capable of destroying the house (considering that bouth houses and flats are available unfurnished this is not always the case) and noisy (leading to complaints from neighbours) while others simply fail to understand the bond between humans and pets. This is why they add a ‘No Pets’ clause to the tenancy agreement.
In 2019 it was estimated that 40% of households had pets and still only 7% of the landlords currently advertise homes that will take pets in consideration, and those who do allow a furry friend, will request a secondary security deposit (between 20£ and 40£).
If you already moved with your pet in the UK prior to finding a suitable place, you are forced to either give your pet to a friend or to adoption, which is not easy at all. The best thing to do to not end up in this situation is to give yourself plenty of time (it can take up months) to find a pet-friendly property before moving out of your current home. Lets With Pets includes a few websites and online agencies that have a pet-friendly filter and can help you find a suitable place for you and your animal companion.
But there are some good news. The UK Government is planning to update the official tenancy agreement used by Letting Agencies to encourage landlords to accept tenants with pets and to make it easier for pet owners renting a property. According to thenegociator.co.uk, the current rental contract says tenants must not keep any pets at a property without the prior written consent of the landlord but prevents landlords operating a blanket pet ban and requires them to turn down requests only ‘with good reason’, that a large dog would be likely to damage property.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said the model contract would now be revised to encourage more landlords to make room for responsible pet owners and that the rules will be amended to ensure the properties are protected from damage by badly-behaved pets.
Refusal of landlords to allow pets is a common reason for cats and dogs being given up to animal shelters. We would consult with tenants and both social and private landlords so that tenants can keep pets as a default unless there is evidence that the animal is causing a nuisance, or its welfare is compromised. – Labour
“Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owner’s through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. We will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both. This is part of this new government’s mission to improve life for tenants, recognising that more are renting and for longer in life” said Robert Jenrick. A revised model tenancy agreement will be published by the government later this year.
In the meantime, if you are struggling to find a property to rent with your pet, you can do a few things:
- Ask your former landlord for a reference to prove that your pet has been well behaved and caused no issues at the property.
- Most rental contracts are Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements and can be amended to suit both parties before you sign. You could suggest things such as: an agreement that you will cover the costs of a professional clean of the property, or that you will allow regular inspections of the property during the course of the tenancy or even suggest paying a bigger deposit to cover potential costs of damage caused by your pet.
- Pay a slightly higher rent.
- Introduce your pet to the landlord to see how your animal interacts with strangers and how well behaved he is.
- Once you have permission for a pet, ensure that the terms are written into your contract to prevent future misunderstandings.
From my personal experience, the main reason why landlords do not want dogs in the property they are letting is because of the noise, especially barking, because most of the times it can lead to complaints from the neighbours so it is quite difficult to find a flat in a property to rent alongside your dog companion. Pet smells are another concern as they can leave a lingering odour in a property that can only be removed with a professional cleaning. Most UK properties use carpets as the most popular floor covering and they require a bit of effort to clean.
Now let’s mension some of the positive aspects why landlords should allow tenants with pets. According to ‘Pet Friendly Rentals’ by not accepting pet owners, Letting Agents are decreasing their potential market by 50% (there are 78% pet owners in the UK according to a recent survey by the Dogs Trust). Secondly, pet owners are long-term tenants due to the fact that it is so difficult at the moment to find a pet-friendly property and lastly, dogs can be a good form of security so they will add extra protection to any location.
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