Renting with pets: Our 5 top tips for renting with pets
More than half of the adult population in Britain currently owns a pet. And with adults much more likely to rent today as they were 20 years ago, there are a lot of renters looking for a pet-friendly home.
Often Landlords and letting agents can be hesitant to allow renters to keep pets in their properties, but with animal shelters and charities reporting surges in demand for puppies and kittens during lockdown, finding suitable long-term shelter for both humans and their four-legged friends has become a hot topic.
Under the Model Tenancy Agreement, renters with pets should be able to find a place to rent more easily, as consent for pets is the default.
The new rules mean landlords cannot simply issue a blanket ban on pets without good reason, however this also means renters have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property caused by pets.
Here are our top 5 tips for finding suitable pet friendly homes.
While decent pet-friendly rental properties should no longer be quite so challenging to find, you will still want to make sure your property is suitable for your pet.
For example, if you have an outdoor cat, you’ll want to make sure the property is away from a main road and has a cat flap. For dog owners, making sure your new home is big enough and close to a park or good walking routes is likely to be a priority.
It makes sense to crack on with your property search a good 8 weeks before you need to move out of your current home and expanding your search area or the type of property you want to live in should increase your chances of finding a new place for you and your pet to call home.
If you’ve found a landlord that is open to the idea of pets but needs a bit of persuading, there are things you can do to put them at ease.
For example, provide them with your pet’s medical details, such as last vaccinations, flea and worming treatments and microchipping and neutering confirmation.
You can also pass on the contact information of your vet and someone who can look after your pet in the event of an emergency.
If you’ve previously rented, ask your former landlord for a reference to prove that your pet has been well behaved and caused no issues at the property to reassure prospective landlords that you are a responsible owner.
3. Introduce your pet to your landlord
Another way to put your potential landlord’s mind at ease is to have them meet your pet in advance.
Once the landlord has met your pet they can see how your animal interacts with strangers and how well behaved they are. If you are comfortable doing so, you could invite the landlord to your current home to prove you’re a responsible tenant and your pet has a good nature.
Even if you are dealing with a letting agent and not the landlord directly, their job is to find the most secure, reliable and appropriate renter for the property and having a pet should not be a disadvantage.
A tenant who pays the rent on time, is reasonable and looks after the property is the ideal tenant– even if they do have a pet.
4. How to ask your landlord if you can have a pet
It is really important to seek the written consent of your landlord if you do wish to keep pets.
Your landlord should only turn down a request in writing within a 28 day period if there is good reason to do so, such as having large pets in smaller homes where having a pet could be impractical or cause issues.
Requests should be accepted in suitable properties where they are satisfied that you are a responsible pet owner.
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to make sure your pet does not become a nuisance to neighbours, and you will also be legally responsible for repairing any damage caused to the property by your pet.
Please make sure you are always upfront with your landlord about keeping pets in a property.
If they discover, through property inspections or, worse, through complaints from neighbours, that you are keeping a pet without consent, you could find yourself in trouble.
This is a breach of contract which is grounds to start an eviction process.
A stress free move
Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date and you have all relevant records and certificates. If your pet needs medication for any existing conditions, ensure you’re stocked up before moving day.
It’s also worth asking the vet about getting some mild sedatives if your pet will be distressed by travelling. They may also be able to recommend a new veterinary practice in the area you’re moving to.
Finally, if your visit is close to your move date, have your pet’s microchip updated with your new home address. If they make a run for it when you arrive, it could make things a lot easier.
Dogs and cats are both creatures of habit and moving house can be very disrupting. It might be tricky with so much going on, but try to keep as much of your pet’s normal routine in place as possible.
For example, if you usually shut your cat or dog in the kitchen at night, continue to do this in your new kitchen. Keep the position of the bed or basket as like-for-like as possible and make sure you don't change, or even wash, bedding, toys or blankets near to the move.
outdoor cats should ideally be kept indoors for around two weeks. But if you have a dog and are moving locally, try keep your walking route the same where possible.
A few weeks leading up to the move, get out your pet’s basket or carrier and leave it somewhere in plain sight.
This will give your cat or dog some time to adjust to being around it, as just the sight and smell of the carrier can be enough to panic them as they’ll associate it with the vet.
If you wait until move day when things are disruptive enough already, it will cause additional and unnecessary stress for your pet.
Ideally, you will have already updated your pet's microchip details with your new address at the local vet. But, even if this is the case, be sure to attach a temporary tag to your pet's collar with these details, alongside your mobile number, on moving day.
Hopefully you won't need to rely on this but it's good to have a safety net in place.
Keep in mind that cats are prone to return to a familiar address for weeks, or even months, after a house move. In this case, it's also a good idea to talk to whoever's moving into your old home and warn then in advance.
Give them your mobile number and perhaps even a picture of your cat so they can keep an eye out.
You might want to book your pet into a cattery or kennels for the day of the move (perhaps even one or two days either side), saving them the stress and you the worry.
If this your plan, make sure you book in plenty of time, especially over summer when they’re at their busiest. You may want to choose a venue that’s nearest to the house you are going to, rather than the one you’re leaving behind. However, keep in mind that catteries and kennels can also be a stressful experience, so if you have family or friends that are happy to play host instead, that could be preferable.Another alternative for your pets is to book them on their own holiday, which entails sending your dog to board with a local host family. These professional dog sitting services are tailored specifically for your furry friends and offer a happy medium between kennelling or depending on family and friends.For more info on renting with pets and the New Model Tenancy Agreement please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-standard-tenancy-agreement-to-help-renters-with-well-behaved-pets