In this week’s #AskTDS, one tenant asks how they can reassure their landlord that keeping a pet in their rented property is a good idea.

According to the latest figures published by the RSPCA, an estimated 44% of households in the UK have pets, equating to roughly 51 million animals owned. Proof that we are, indeed, a nation of animal lovers.

With numbers like those, it is no surprise that renters also want the right to live with their pets. However, according to a recent poll by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), half of landlords say that they have experienced damage to a property from pets, with only 30% agreeing that pets should be allowed in rented homes. Now that the Tenant Fees Act prevents landlords from charging additional fees or a higher deposit to tenants with pets, it is no surprise that many are reluctant.

Is there anything a tenant can do to convince their landlord to allow a pet?

Whilst it may be tempting to sneak a pet into your property, DON’T! If your landlord or letting agent has clearly prohibited pet ownership in the tenancy agreement, you would be in breach of contract if you ignore the terms of your lease, which could result in eviction.

Instead, it is wise to communicate with your landlord, ideally face-to-face, to discuss your situation.

Property owners and managers want to minimise damage to their building and outside spaces, so you will need to reassure them that this will not happen.

At TDS, we see several deposit disputes arise because of damage to properties from pets. From animal hair in the carpets and scratch-marks on the doors to anti-social behaviour (barking) and allergy problems, you will need to do your homework with regards to your pet.

You should provide your landlord with as much information as possible about your pet and how it will be cared for. For example:

  • Provide details of the pet’s breed (whether it sheds hair, is hypoallergenic or how big they are etc.) with confirmation that is not listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act or Dangerous Dogs Act.
  • Provide a profile of your pet including whether it has been treated for fleas, when it was vaccinated, if it has been neutered, whether it is microchipped, and if it has been trained.
  • Demonstrate your pet’s past behaviour by providing a reference from a recent landlord.
  • Provide details of who will care for the pet in an emergency.

You may need to agree an additional pet clause and/or a higher rent or pet insurance to cover you and your landlord. You may also need to agree on specific tenant responsibilities such as an end-of-tenancy professional clean, extra garden maintenance, the rectification of any scratch-marks and pest control with regards to fleas.

Not only will this extra information reassure your landlord, it will also help you decide if keeping a pet in the property is the right thing to do.

We recommend you read our tenancy deposit dispute case studies on pets to learn why claims were made for deposit deductions. This will help to avoid the same happening to you.

About the Author

Alison MacDougall

Director of Dispute operations

Alison MacDougall headshot

Alison has over 15 years’ experience in dispute resolution. She joined Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) in 2007 as an adjudicator. Alison is now responsible for the operational management of the dispute resolution team and is also Managing Director of TDS Northern Ireland

About TDS

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government-approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; TDS offers both Insured and Custodial protection and provides fair adjudication for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect.

Your landlord or letting agent can protect your deposit using our TDS Custodial Scheme where TDS hold the deposit for the duration of the tenancy. Join TDS Custodial for FREE today

Alternatively, they can protect your deposit using our TDS Insured Scheme where a TDS customer can hold the tenancy deposits as stakeholder during the term of the tenancy. Join TDS Insured today.

TDS can only comment on the process for our scheme, other deposit protection schemes may have a different process/require different steps. Content is correct at the time of writing.

These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.

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