Can a Landlord Refuse Pets? The Basics You Need to Know

Are you a pet owner looking for a new rental property? Or maybe you’re a new landlord ready to put your first property up for rent. You may be wondering if a landlord can refuse to allow pets in the home.

A landlord can refuse pets in the rental property. The landlord may require a pet interview or other screening that they feel is necessary to determine the suitability of any pet, and they have the right to refuse them if they pose safety risks or damage to their property.

In this article, we’ll explore the basics of whether or not landlords can refuse pets and what the rights are as a tenant. Read on to learn more about this important issue.


What are the types of pets that landlords allow?

When it comes to renting a home, landlords have the right to refuse pets. However, there are certain types of pets that landlords may be more likely to accept. These include small animals such as cats and dogs, as well as birds, reptiles, and fish. It is important for tenants to understand what types of pets their landlord will allow before signing a lease agreement.

Domestic Pets

Domestic pets that landlords may allow include cats, dogs, and other animals such as reptiles, rodents, and birds.

Cats and Dogs: Cats and dogs are the most popular pets in the UK and are allowed by the majority of landlords. However, dogs may need to be microchipped and have their vaccinations up to date in order to be allowed in a rental property.

Reptiles: Reptiles such as snakes and lizards are allowed in some rental properties, but usually require a licence from the local council and permission from the landlord.

Rodents: Rodents such as hamsters, gerbils, and mice are also allowed in some rental properties, but they need to be kept in proper cages and not allowed to roam freely.

Birds: Birds such as parrots, budgies, and canaries are allowed in some rental properties as long as they are not allowed to fly freely.

Exotic Pets: Exotic pets are animals such as big cats, monkeys, and other animals that are not typically kept as pets. These pets need special care and require a licence from the local council and permission from the landlord in order to be kept in a rental property.

Cats and dogs can be quite easy to manage in a rental property, as long as the tenant follows the clauses set out in the tenancy agreement and is responsible for any property damage. This includes guidance on acceptable levels of noise from pets, the need for professional cleaning at the end of the tenancy agreement, the need to keep gardens and outside spaces clean if pets are using them, and the need for animals to have regular flea or infestation treatments.

The Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation Protection) Bill seeks to provide tenants with the right to keep pets in their rental property and encourages responsible renters to have a certificate of responsible animal guardianship.

This certificate requires the pet owner to have their pet pass a responsible ownership test. The test includes basic commands and microchipping. The bill also proposes that all information regarding an animal and its ownership be entered into a database.

Other animals such as birds, reptiles, and small mammals can also be allowed in rental properties, although it is more likely these could be banned due to the potential mess and smells that can be left behind.


Are pet chickens allowed in a rental property?

Allowing pet chickens in a rental property will vary depending on the landlord. It is important to consider whether a pet chicken is right for the property, as they require special care and have unique needs. Before making a final decision, the tenant should be questioned carefully and the landlord should seek specialist advice.

When it comes to keeping pet chickens in a rental property, the landlord should consider things like the size of the property, the type of chicken and the number of chickens. For example, a large chicken breed would not be suitable for a small flat. The landlord should also consider the potential damage and noise the chickens may cause.

In addition, the chickens should be provided with a suitable outdoor area and should be allowed to roam and exercise for at least a few hours each day.

The tenant should also be responsible for ensuring the chickens are kept in good health and are safe from predators.

Lastly, it may be necessary for the tenant to obtain a licence from their local council in order to keep pet chickens.

Can tenants keep a pet fish in a rental property?

Fish can be a great addition to a rental property, as they are relatively low maintenance and don’t require much space.

The benefit to the landlord is there is a much lower chance of pet related damage taking place, unless there is an unfortunate incident with water being spilt.

Potential tenants should consider if the property has the space for a fish tank, as well as the necessary equipment and supplies.

Would a landlord allow a pet rat in their rental property?

As rats are generally considered to be pests, it’s understandable that many landlords would not want them kept in their property.

However, a pet rat is not the same as a wild pest rat, and they can make great pets.

If the landlord may allow it , the tenant should be able to provide evidence that their pet rat is well cared for, that it will be correctly contained on site, and that it has been vaccinated against any potential diseases.


What factors should you consider when renting with pets?

The issue of pets in a rented property raises a number of factors that both landlords and potential tenants should consider.

1. Safety and Security

When renting to tenants with pets, it is important to consider safety and security measures.

On the one hand, there are benefits such as potentially increased security if the pet is a dog. On the other hand, landlords should be aware of potential risks, such as property damage, pet smells and odours, pet hair, and allergies.

When it comes to safety and security, landlords should consider a number of factors. For starters, pet damage is not always covered by a landlord’s insurance policy, so it’s important to check this in advance.

Landlords should also ask for a tenant’s previous landlord’s references, meet the pet and observe its behaviour, and ask for termite treatment and vaccinations.

It’s also a good idea to suggest the tenant takes out pet insurance to cover any damage, thus protecting their deposit.

Finally, regular property inspections once the tenant and their pet have moved in will help to ensure that the property is being properly maintained.

2. Higher Rental Cost

Renting with pets can be more expensive than renting without pets. This is because some landlords may charge you more money to rent the place or charge a pet rent fee.

At some point, you’ll move out and the landlord will need to address any issues caused by your pet, for example, damage, removing animal hairs and removing smells.

The type of pet can also make a difference, with older, calmer pets less likely to cause damage than young, active pets. Small fish, for example, do not cause much damage.

3. Agreement Considerations

When renting a property to tenants with pets, landlords should ensure that the pet is well taken care of and that the property is suitable for the pet.

When entering into an agreement that allows pets the following should be considered:

  • Clear clauses in the tenancy agreement that outline the tenant’s responsibility for any pet-related property damage.
  • Guidance on acceptable levels of noise from pets.
  • Professional cleaning at the end of the tenancy agreement.
  • Keeping gardens and outside spaces clean if pets are using them.
  • Requiring regular flea or infestation treatments for animals.
  • Microchipping, de-worming, de-fleaing, and vaccinations for cats and dogs.
  • A certificate of responsible animal guardianship.
  • Landlord insurance that covers pet-related damage.
  • An appropriate environment to house a pet, such as a secure garden, and suitable heating.
  • A requirement of basic pet training, such as house training and responding to basic commands.

4. Maintenance

For both parties, it is important to ensure that the pet’s needs are met and that any potential damage caused by the pet is covered by the tenancy agreement.

For landlords, the need for professional cleaning at the end of the tenancy agreement should be taken into account, as well as the need to keep gardens and outside spaces clean.

Guidance on the level of noise from pets should also be included in the tenancy agreement, and the need for animals to have regular flea or infestation treatments.

Additionally, landlords should consider if their insurance covers pet-related property damage and if any smells or odours from pets can be difficult to get rid of. This can affect future rent payments.

Overall, it is important that both landlords and tenants take into account maintenance when renting with pets, to prevent any damage or disruption caused by the pet and to ensure that the pet’s needs are met.

5. Noise

In the UK, dogs are the most popular pets but they are also the likely source of noise complaints or property damage for landlords.

Landlords should find out how often the dog is left alone in the property and may want to ensure the neighbours have contact details in case they have any problems with new tenants.

6. Smell

The smell of pets can have a significant effect on landlords’ decisions to allow them in rental properties.

If not managed properly, pet odours can be difficult to remove and this could have a negative impact on future tenancies.

In addition, pet hair can also be difficult to remove from carpets and furnishings, which could also be costly to eradicate.

Pet hair can cause serious breathing issues and could negatively impact future tenants if left uncleaned.


What are the landlord’s basic rights when it comes to pets?

Landlords are able to include a clause in the tenancy agreement that prohibits pets, or requires tenants to seek written consent from the landlord before bringing in a pet.

Landlords can also bring in eviction proceedings against tenants who have pets without their permission.

In addition, landlords are able to make their own rules regarding pets, such as requiring a pet deposit or rent increase or specifying acceptable levels of noise from pets.

Landlords are also able to require professional cleaning at the end of the tenancy agreement and may set rules for keeping gardens or outside spaces clean if pets are using them.

As of June 16, 2022, landlords cannot refuse a request for a pet outright without a good reason, such as the condition of the building’s lease or the landlord’s insurance policy.

Landlords must provide a valid justification for refusing a tenant’s request to keep a pet within 28 days.

Finally, tenants are responsible for any pet-related property damage and may even be required to keep their pet up-to-date with flea or infestation treatments as part of their tenancy agreement.

The answer to whether it is legal to include a pet clause in a tenancy agreement is yes, but with certain restrictions.

A tenant must first seek written consent from their landlord before bringing a pet into the property. If a landlord has included a no-pets clause in their contract or specified that their tenants must seek permission first, then they must adhere to this.

Furthermore, landlords have the right to request an additional deposit to cover damage or a rent increase to cover the pet.

However, a new law announced on June 16th, 2022, means landlords cannot refuse a request for a pet without a good reason such as the property’s lease or the landlord’s insurance policy.

Ultimately, it is important to ensure that any pet clauses included in tenancy agreements are specific, be it the type of animal, its breed, or even its name, and that it grants ‘The Pet’ permission to stay in the property alongside the named tenants.

Are there any rules about deposit caps for tenants with pets?

Are there any rules about deposit caps for tenants with pets?

According to the Tenant Fees Act 2019, landlords cannot request a security deposit larger than 5 weeks’ rent (or 6 weeks where the rental is over £50,000) if they approve pets in their rental property.

This law put an end to the increased deposits for tenants with pets and landlords are now able to request pet insurance to cover any potential damage caused by the pet.

What happens if a tenant breaches their pet clause?

If a tenant breaches their pet clause and keeps a pet without the landlord’s written consent, the landlord could bring in eviction proceedings using a Section 8 notice, under the Housing Act 1988, for breach of the tenancy agreement.

This could result in the tenant being evicted from the property. Alternatively, the tenant can arrange with their landlord and pay an additional deposit to cover any damage caused by their pet or an increased rent.

If the tenant is served with an eviction notice, they may be able to defend this if it is in breach of their tenancy agreement, depending on the type of tenancy they have.



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