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Considering Taking on Tenants with Pets? What you Need to Know.

Published on November 3, 2014 by Sarah Mac

As a landlord you may be hesitant about letting to tenants with pets, which is understandable. However, with the number of people renting on the rise, and many tenants finding it difficult to find a property that welcomes their four legged friends, it makes sense to consider letting to pet owners to increase your tenant pool. Allowing pets also encourages long term rents, as pet owners will understand how rare it is to find a pet-friendly tenancy.

Worried about letting to tenants with pets? Here’s everything you need to know for a successful let: 


If you are the leaseholder, before you do anything you’ll need to check that pets are allowed under the terms of your lease and there are no restrictions in the deeds when letting to pet owners.

The Office of Fair Trading actually expects landlords to not unreasonably withhold consent for tenants with pets under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. Follow this link for more information. Give permission in writing, preferably within the tenancy agreement, to allow pets to stay at the property.

The Inventory

A detailed inventory is important for any landlord-tenant agreement, but this is never more the case than when letting to a tenant with pets. Make sure you always employ an experienced inventory company to carry out a comprehensive check-in inspection report which will detail the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy.

This will set the basis for how you expect the property to be returned to you at the end of the let, after fair wear and tear. Bear in mind that damage caused by the pet does not generally constitute fair wear and tear, and an inventory company will make what is expected clear from the outset.

It is also advisable to ask for additional but reasonable requirements from your tenant. These can be:

  • An additional clause or special condition asking the tenant to accept responsibility for any additional damage caused by the pet. This can be made at any time during the tenancy, depending on when the pet is brought into the property.
  • A request for a higher deposit, bearing in mind the greater potential for damage and costs at the end of the tenancy (for example, it would be reasonable to request 6 weeks’ rent as opposed to 4 weeks).
  • An agreement for specialist cleaning at the end of the tenancy if needed (although this cannot be enforced if it is not required).
  • A separate non-refundable payment for cleaning, fumigation or de-infestation to be carried out at any point after the tenancy has ended. This can be requested on the basis that any pet related issues may not become apparent until some time after the tenant has vacated the property.

Don’t overcharge your tenants for having a pet; you should only ever charge what is reasonable within the tenancy agreement. At the end of the tenancy, your inventory company will carry out a further check of the property, and will highlight any problems. If necessary, your initial inventory will then stand as evidence against any disputes. 


Remember you can’t refuse an Assistance Dog by law; it is illegal to discriminate against those with disabilities, which includes those who use an Assistance Dog.

Constant barking can become a nuisance to neighbours, and if this occurs in your property, you should insist that the tenant investigates the cause of the problem by contacting a veterinary surgeon, a dog behaviourist or an animal welfare officer.

As a landlord, you will always have extra responsibilities, and this includes reporting to the police or local authorities any tenants you believe are keeping a dangerous dog, as defined under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Similarly, if you suspect neglect of an animal which is being kept at your property, or are concerned about the welfare of an animal, you should report it to an animal welfare agency immediately. Remember that if an animal is abandoned at your property and you cannot trace your tenant, the pet becomes your responsibility.

There is certainly a lot to think about when letting to pet owners, but with the right support in place in the form of a detailed inventory and extra covenants, you could reap the benefits.

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