For a long time, owning a pet has been a distant dream for a lot of renters with only around 7% of privately rented accommodation being advertised as ‘pet-friendly’. Thankfully for all us pet lovers, the government is now looking to overhaul this and encourage more landlords to allow ‘well behaved’ pets into rented homes.
The shorter version of this is that the government is launching a new model tenancy contract which will allow tenants to have pets when they rent privately. That’s not to say every landlord will use this, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. After all, no one should have to give up their pet just because they rent.
Obviously, if your landlord agrees to accept pets, you need to help them by being the best tenants you can be (and proving that pets can be perfect tenants, too!).
Ask permission first
If you’re currently renting and thinking of getting a pet, even if your contract says pets are allowed, always ask your landlord for permission first. It’s best to also get this in writing – if you’re thinking of adopting from a rescue centre, most will ask for written permission from your landlord anyway.
Check your T’s and C’s
If your contract says you’re allowed pets, it will sometimes also have a conditions with this, for example when you leave you may need to get certain areas of the house (such as carpets) professionally cleaned. Keep this in mind as it could mean extra costs and you may need to provide proof that you’re meeting any conditions in the contract.
Brush up on training
The government’s advice talks specifically about ‘well behaved’ pets, which means it might be time to brush up on training and curb any unwanted behaviours! If your dog likes to nibble on walls, or your cat is a serial carpet scratcher/destroyer, try to redirect this behaviour before you move so they don’t accidentally destroy your new pad. Remember to only use reward-based methods and make sure they have lots of other things safe to chew/scratch.
Be aware of your pet’s habits
Some pets may be a little more vocal than others. While this is perfectly natural behaviour for most pets, it might not be a wise decision to rent somewhere with thin walls if, for example, your cat likes to have a late-night yowl. Whether you’re renting or not you need to be mindful of neighbours and try not to make excessive noise, but when you rent upsetting the neighbours can have really bad consequences for you and your landlord.
Where you choose to rent needs to meet both yours and your pet’s needs. So if you have a Great Dane, a flat with no garden may not be the best choice even if it’s advertised as pet friendly!
Prepare to be flexible
As we've said, not every landlord will accept pets. When you’re looking for somewhere to rent with your pet (or you’re looking to rent long-term and will want to get a pet while there) you might have to broaden your search a little to find the perfect place.
Introduce your pet to your landlord
If you can, it might be worth introducing your pet to your landlord before you move in. That way they can see how well behaved they are (and how they behave in the home) which might help to put their mind at ease.
Have a stress-free move
Moving somewhere new is just as stressful for pets as it is for us. Try to make moving day as easy as possible for your pet and get them back into their routine as soon as possible. Read our full advice on moving home.
If you are moving, don’t forget to change your pet’s microchip details so they’re up-to-date. You can get more advice on taking good care of your pet on our website.