Is prohibiting pets a good idea? Would it not be more cost-effective sometimes to let to tenants with pets? 

The majority of pet owners are law-abiding people who look after their pets responsibly, however:

  • 78% of pet owners, according to a recent survey by the Dogs Trust, have experienced difficulty in finding accommodation which accepts pets
  • 54% were never able to find a suitable property, and
  • 8% had to re-home their pet

In February 2021 Propertymark stated that they found 81% of landlords would let a property to tenants with Pets and around 84% reported incidents of tenants keeping pets without the landlord’s permission.  This feedback suggest scope for increasing flexibility for more prospective tenants by making renting with pets more manageable.

It was suggested that while some landlords will have had a bad experience with pets in their property, it is worth remembering that allowing an animal can make a property more desirable and encourage tenants to rent for longer, as well as help tackle issues such as isolation and loneliness.

Here are some ideas to help maximise the benefits of renting with pets while minimising the risk of damage. 

Review the property and type of pet. Ensure the property is suitable for the animal and visa versa. A small ground floor flat with no outside area wouldn’t be suitable for a dog, but may be suitable for a cat.

You may consider asking a prospective tenant for a reference from a previous landlord about the pet. Or a reference from a vet detailing the animals breed, age, behaviour, training, vaccinations and flea treatments.

Be mindful, however, that the Equality Act 2010 forbids anyone renting a property from discrimination against a person with a disability, and this would include decimating anyone with a assistance dog.

Check any pet-related lease and mortgage restrictions. In flats or leasehold properties, its important to check what is outlined in the lease, as well as any covenants in freehold properties that can restrict allowing pets.

Be clear on the tenancy agreement what type of pet or pets are kept.  The clause(s) should reflect specific circumstances, leaving less room for future disputes.  In particular, you should make it clear:

  • That they are only being authorised to keep the specific pets agreed – if they want to keep any more they must ask you first
  • They are responsible for looking after the pet properly. If you consider it is being neglected or ill-used, you will report them to the RSPCA (or another animal welfare organisation)
  • If the pet does not go with them, for example when they go on holiday, they must board it or make proper arrangements for its care while they are away
  • They must make sure the animal is vaccinated property, get written confirmation of this from their vet and show this to you if you ask
  • They are responsible for making sure the pet does not damage anything in the property and is not a nuisance to neighbours.

Arrange a professional compiled, clear and concise inventory. Coupled with interim inspections and a check out report, this can help protect the property and ensure any deposit deductions are fair.  An inventory can be useful if there is a dispute over pet damage.

Landlords who exclude pet owners from their properties are missing out on a large share of the rental market as almost half of households in the UK currently own a pet. By adopting a pet-friendly approach, you can easily increase demand for your property and attract long-term, responsible tenants.