Any pet owner will tell you that they are part of the family and help to make a house a home. Owning a cat or dog has also been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, encourage exercise, and have a positive effect on mental health. But for renters, finding a home suitable for themselves and their pet can be tricky.
Roughly half of adults in the UK own a pet, and statistics show that people in their mid 30s and 40s are three times more likely to rent than they did 20 years ago. This means there are a lot of tenants looking for a pet friendly landlord these days. But how hard is it to find a pet friendly pad?
We take a look at the ins and the outs of owning a pet, when you don’t own your own home.
It’s easiest to rent a property with your pet if you’re able to find a landlord that is pet friendly beforehand, rather than asking afterwards.
The most effective tool you can give yourself is plenty of time to prepare. Ideally try to start looking for pet friendly properties around 6 to 8 weeks before you move to find a home both you and your pet will love.
The best place to start looking is online as there are a number of resources you can use to help with your search.
If you’re not able to find anything suitable, there are also sites such as OpenRent that allow you to deal directly with private landlords.
Alternatively, you can search classified listings like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace for pet friendly places to live. These sites are updated daily and allow you to message the landlord directly and ask questions about their pet policy.
Speaking with the landlord directly can be useful because you can address any concerns they have about taking on a pet tenant and help convince them of your pet’s suitability.
An increasingly popular method to help convince landlords to take on tenants with pets is to create a pet CV.
Make sure you include your pet’s age and up to date vaccination information, along with details of any allergies. Include details if your pet has taken any obedience training or behavioural classes too, as this is a great way to show that your pet can be trusted.
As you might provide a landlord with references for yourself, references from previous landlords for your pet could also be extremely useful. Showing your new landlord that your pet has lived in rental properties without any issues before could go a long way to helping your case.
If you’ve found a property that’s perfect but the landlord doesn’t allow pets, or the tenancy states “pets considered” then it’s the landlord’s decision whether they will allow you to rent.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to ‘sneak’ your pet in without informing your landlord because you would be in breach of contract and could find your tenancy terminated. It’s best to be up front and broach the subject with your landlord – but at the moment they don’t have to consider your request.
Not all cases will be entirely up to the landlord though as some properties may have restrictions in the leasehold that do not allow pets to live in the building.
At the moment a landlord is within their rights to refuse your request to rent their property if you have a pet.
A new legislation - the Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation and Protection Bill - has been proposed to allow dogs, cats and other pets to be kept by renters, but it has not been passed yet.
Until the new legislation is approved, the decision to allow pets rests with your landlord.
If all has gone well and your landlord is happy that you and your pet are the right tenants for them, then you’ll need to start planning the move to your purr-fect property. To help make the day as stress free as possible for you and your pet there are a few things you need to think about before your move.
Update your pet’s ID tag or microchip before moving so you can be contacted as soon as possible if anything happens to your pet or they run away. If you have a cat keep them indoors the day before you move so you don’t spend your morning looking for them if they’ve wandered off.
If possible ask a friend or family member to look after your pet on moving day so you can move your pet in on a day when it is quieter, less hectic and not as stressful for them.
Once you move try to keep your pet in one room with familiar items like their toys, water bowl, and bed to help reduce stress and encourage them to settle in as quickly as possible.