Those of you who have tried renting with pets flat with a pet know that it isn’t always easy! Landlords are often hesitant to rent their properties to pet households, as there is the perception and fear that pets cause damage and leave behind unpleasant smells and fur. As a result, there is often a lack of properties on the market suitable for pet-owners.
Landlord inflexibility and bias is a problem with renting with pets that is being addressed by certain schemes and programmes working to educate landlords on the positives of accepting pets in their flats. The truth is that most pet-owners are extremely responsible, and are looking for longer-term lets to settle down in.
While there is still a long way to go before pet-owners can rent without extra hurdles to jump, there are a few steps you can take now to make your move as smooth and easy as possible.
1. Know your rights
The 1999 Unfair Terms in Customer Contracts means that, legally, landlords aren’t allowed to include a ‘no pets’ clause in their contracts. Outside of pets that are for medical assistance (a legal right under the Disability Discrimination Act of 2005), landlords are allowed to use their discretion in accepting pets, able to either allow or disallow them based on their own judgment. Their decision is to be accepted by tenants, as long as they aren’t seen as ‘unreasonably withholding consent’. I.e. being ridiculous and refusing to allow you to keep a small goldfish.
2. Show you pet in the best light possible
One of the best ways of getting a landlord to approve your pet request and ease renting with pets, it to show it off in the best light possible, proving that it will not be a nuisance or cause damage. One of the ways to do this is to write a pet CV.
Here you should include basic information like name, sex, age, breed, behaviour and a photograph. You should also include a reference from a previous landlord and your vet, listing relevant information on its vaccines and general health. You can also help your case by highlighting how the pet will be cared for while you’re at work (e.g. who will be walking it and how often) – basically, you want to show the landlord your pet will not be left alone for hours on end in the flat to cause damage.
If a landlord seems open to the idea, introduce them to your pet if possible. Bring them along to viewing and hopefully, their cuteness will help you seal the deal!
3. Be flexible and start looking well in advance
The reality is that it’s going to be a lot harder to find a flat with a pet. You need to be willing to be flexible on your requirements, open to different areas, and willing to make compromises on certain things. Start looking well in advance, so you have plenty of time to find the right place.
4. Be open to paying more
As one of the main concerns landlords have about having pets in a flat is that they’ll cause damage, they’ll most likely require a higher deposit to cover any damage that could be done. If you’re looking for a reasonable place, you’ll need to be willing to pay more in deposit (typically another two weeks rent on top of the standard deposit amount) to keep the landlord happy. So be aware of this extra cost.
5. Make sure the property is pet-friendly
When thinking about moving, you need to bear in mind certain practicalities and make sure the property will work for you and your pet on a day-to-day basis. For instance, are there green spaces nearby for walks; is the property large enough to keep a pet; how will the noise affect neighbors; is there a cat-flap built in? Consider all the necessary factors before making your decision.
6. Put your agreement in writing
One of the most important things to do once you find a pet-friendly flat, is put your agreement in writing! Add a clause to the contract relating entirely to renting with pets, showing the landlord’s agreement to your keeping the pet and their occupation of the property. Include details on how this will not affect your rights, and any agreement you’ve come to on deep-cleans, deposits etc. This will protect you later if any problems arise.
7. Keep your pet’s details updated
Once you’ve moved into your new place and renting with pets make sure you update your pet’s details including registering them at a local vet, changing their pet collar if applicable, and making sure their micro-chip is updated to your new address.
Follow these tips to find the perfect new home for you and your pet. If you’re looking for pet-friendly flatmates to go with your new flat, download the Whoomies app here and get looking.