Advice on asking your landlord to allow pets when you rent

Asking your landlord about getting a pet can sometimes feel daunting, especially if you don’t have a relationship with them, or the situation feels precarious. As a renter you do have rights, and a say in what happens in the home you’re living in, so here’s our advice on ways to ask and things to consider when approaching your landlord about getting a pet.

This advice is most relevant for people who already rent accommodation and want to get a pet. If you have a pet and need to find a place to rent, take a look at our advice on looking for pet-friendly rental properties.

Firstly, is getting a pet a good option?

Before you commit to bringing a pet into your home, it’s really important that you think it through first. Owning a pet is fun and rewarding but is also a big responsibility and it takes patience and energy, not to mention the costs. Questions you might want to ask yourself are: Do you spend enough time at home, or could you take a pet to work if they needed to be with you? Do you have access to a garden or nearby outside space? Do you have children or a very busy job that means your time is already limited?

If the answers to these questions suggest that getting a pet right now isn’t a good idea, there are still lots of ways to have animals in your life such as volunteering for an animal charity, spending time with friends and family’s pets, or signing up to a platform that allows you to look after other people’s pets. If you’re delaying the decision to get a pet this is also a great opportunity to learn more about the kind of animal you would eventually like to get, and to research what you might need to do before becoming a responsible pet owner.

If it feels like now is the right time to get a pet, the next step to think about how best to approach your landlord. Getting a pet when you rent can be a challenge. In 2021, Zoopla only listed 7% of rental properties as being pet-friendly, or open to tenants with pets. However, there are some things you can do to help the process and make it easier to show your landlord why you should be allowed to have a pet.

Research the pet that’s right for you and where you live

If you do decide to get a pet, it’s important to do some research to check that it is suitable for your home. For example, a large dog in a small one-bedroom flat isn’t likely to be the best environment for the dog or the people or person living in the flat. By doing your research you can then use this knowledge to show your landlord that you are taking reasonable steps to make sure you are considering a pet that will not cause issues in their property. For example, you can show that you’ve considered the size of the pet, and may also want to factor in the amount of noise certain pets or particular breeds are more commonly known for making. This can be especially important in a flat or block of flats where other tenants are living close by.

You can also reassure your landlord that you have a good understanding of what it means to be a responsible pet owner and will commit to training your pet. Battersea has lots of behavioural advice available, as well as online dog training classes for more tailored 1:1 help.

What to say to landlords when you want to get a pet

Once you’ve decided on getting a pet and have figured out the steps you will take to make sure it suits your home, you can broach the subject with your landlord. Try to speak to the landlord themselves wherever possible, not a letting agent. Our research has found that landlords might be more open to their tenants having a pet than letting agents might realise, so it can sometimes be better to address it with them personally if possible.

When you speak to your landlord, try to proactively offer solutions to any problems they might anticipate with you having a pet. For example, our research found that landlords were 40% more likely to allow pets if tenants offered to get insurance against pet damage, to deep clean the property at the end of their tenancy, or (where legally possible) to pay a higher deposit which could be returned at the end of the tenancy.

Template agreements and paperwork that can help

There are some existing template agreements to make the paperwork side of things simpler and remove one more barrier for a landlord.

One is Battersea’s own template. The other is the Government’s Model Tenancy Agreement (MTA) which includes legal wording around having a pet as part of your contract. You can find out more about the MTA here.

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