Tips on Finding a Pet-Friendly Property
Finding the perfect home when you have a pet may be a bit more complicated than finding one only for yourself. Some landlords are hesitant about letting a property to pet owners fearing damages and foul smells. In addition, lease agreements for pet-friendly homes may come packed with many restrictions. However, with a bit of organization and skill, everything will work out for the best. Just follow the guide our estate agents have put together for pet owners on navigating the rental market and securing a pet-friendly home in no time.
Dedicate More Time to Your Property Search
There are a few aspects of a property search that may take longer for pet owners. First of all, owning a pet usually also means you will have a few special requirements on your list. Things like proximity to a park (for dogs), quiet neighbourhood (for cats), or dedicated spaces for enclosures (for rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.). Second, many landlords are sceptical about letting their property out to pet owners.
For these reasons, pet-friendly properties may take longer to find, and availability may be scarcer. Landlords may fear that a pet will cause damage to their property or even scare off future tenants with allergies.
Our estate agents recommend that you start your property search early if you own a pet. And allow for more time to find a suitable one. So, start planning ahead and don’t get discouraged if it takes a little longer to secure the right property. Eventually, you will.
Look into Any Extra Costs
Until the Tenant Fees Act of 2019 came into force, landlords could ask for additional deposits from pet-owners. Since the tenancy deposit was capped by this bill, landlords can no longer do this. Instead, some landlords charge tenants higher rents for allowing them to bring their pets into the leased property.
Normally, if the landlord asks for a higher level of rent, this should reflect the type of pet you own. Big dogs, for instance, may cause more damage than a parrot or a lizard. This is something you or your estate agent should discuss with the landlord depending on your situation.
Landlords can also charge a fee of up to £50 for amending the tenancy agreement to allow pets.
At the end of the tenancy agreement, make sure you are not leaving behind any mess caused by your pet. Otherwise, the landlord may be able to charge the costs of any tenancy agreement breaches relating to the pet from your tenancy deposit.
How to Convince a Landlord to Accept Your Pet
If you set your sights on a property that says “No pets allowed”, all is not lost. There are still things you can do if you trust that you are a responsible pet owner, and your pet is nothing your landlord should worry about. Here are a few things you can try:
Dog references, CV, and maybe an interview
It’s natural for a landlord to worry about allowing pets into their property. You may know yourself as a responsible pet owner and take offence. However, you have to accept that maybe not everyone is like you.
To persuade a reluctant landlord, you can build a CV with references for your pet.
Prepare a set of essential information you can provide your landlord. Things like the pet’s breed, age, size. Mention a few details about their behaviour and describe what their routine is. Add details about their medical information (vaccinations, flea treatments, etc.). Anything that shows the pet is properly cared for and that you are a responsible owner.
If you’ve lived with your pet in another home before, ask your former landlord to provide references and confirmation that your pet hasn’t caused any damage to previous properties. Knowing more about you and your pet will ease the landlord’s worries and increase your chances of securing the lease.
You should also ease their mind when it comes to who can care for your pet in case of an emergency. And how you plan to care for the dog when you are away. For instance, boarding them when you go on holiday.
Last but not least, bring your pet to meet the landlord or ask the landlord to pay you a visit. There’s nothing like a meeting face to face to put their mind at ease and melt their hearts completely.
Amending the tenancy agreement to put the landlord at ease
Another proposal you can advance to a potential landlord in such a situation is to make specific amendments to the tenancy agreement that can make them feel more secure about allowing your pet to live in their property.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements can be easily amended to suit a pet situation. First of all, the agreement should mention that you are allowed to bring a pet inside the property. Then, it can also provide specific obligations such as compensation for any damages or covering professional cleaning costs at the end of the tenancy.
You could also add specific conditions for how the regular inspections of the property will be carried out. This way, the landlord can relax knowing that they can come by quarterly (or more often) to witness how well the property is looked after.
Discuss with the landlord on their specific worries and then identify what contractual amendments could put their worries to rest.
Enlist the help of an experienced estate agent
An experienced estate agent can be a great tool if you are dealing with a landlord who is hesitant about allowing pets. Since risks are their main worry, having a third party present the situation and the details showing that you are a responsible pet owner may be more convincing.
If you need someone to make the case for you and your pet, a letting agent can help sway the landlord’s decision in your favour. They are usually very experienced in handling these situations and landlords may be more open to hearing their objective perspective on why letting a property to a pet owner such as yourself can be beneficial.
Show them why pet owners can be good tenants
Speaking of landlord benefits, pet owners actually make very good tenants. First of all, they have an interest to keep the property well maintained. Second of all, they are more likely to let a property for longer periods of time. Both of these reasons have to do with the fact that it is more difficult for pet owners to find a suitable new lease. So, they have every interest of renewing and extending the existing one.
In addition, allowing pets means that landlords open up their property to a wider range of tenants and can benefit from higher rents.
Play by the Rules
Hiding your pet from the landlord to secure a property where pets are not allowed is not a valid option. Be honest from the beginning about your situation and discuss with the landlord upfront about conditions that can make you both comfortable with it.
Otherwise, you could find yourself in an unpleasant situation. Your landlord could be alerted by neighbours or come by and find you keeping a pet without consent inside the property. In this case, you would be in breach of the tenancy agreement. You’d risk getting evicted and lose any chance of a good reference for your next home.
So, always play by the rules and trust that being honest and forthright can convince even a hesitant landlord to allow your beloved pet into their property.
If you are in the market for a pet-friendly home and are worried things may get complicated, our estate agents can help you navigate this process and secure a lovely new home. Start your stress-free property search by contacting them at 0207 055 0441.