Can landlords refuse pets UK?

Can landlords refuse pets UK?

This is one of those questions that Norman Galloway Lettings receive on a daily basis - and is something that is hugely relevant if you are looking to rent.

Unfortunately, it's not one of those questions with a straight "Yes" or "No" answer.

This is what the Citizens Advice has to say:

"You can keep pets as long as it's not specifically forbidden in your tenancy agreement  and it doesn't cause a nuisance to neighbours. You should read the  contract you signed most recently. Even if a tenancy agreement says that  pets aren't allowed, it can be difficult for a landlord to enforce this condition."

The Consumer Rights Act (2015) states that:

"a no pet clause should allow for the tenant to ask for permission to keep a pet. The landlord is not allowed to unreasonably refuse the request. ... If you, as a  tenant, were to take this to court, then it is likely that you would win  the right to keep a pet."

Here's my take on it - which hopefully will help – but may just muddy the water further:

For any property that we advertise, we will always tell you upfront if the landlord does not accept pets. That being said, many Landlords will stipulate "No Pets" and truly intend to stick to that rule.

In reality, we are generally an animal-loving population and our pets are so important to us and form a key part of our family group. They are loved by adults and children alike, and no one would want that bond to be broken, with all of the benefits to health and general wellbeing that brings.

The NO Pets Rule is simply the Landlord saying "I don't want my property to be damaged, my garden ruined and my neighbours upset". Which we can all see, is perfectly reasonable reasoning.

If you had invested your hard-earned money in a property To Let, or are still paying out every month for a mortgage on it - with high-interest rates to boot, would you want it damaged by pets, or anyone for that matter?

So , this is truly a dilemma for any Landlord when considering the 'Pet Question'.

My advice to any tenant asking the question would be this...

If you are the best applicant that the Landlord has to consider - they may relax that rule. They may ask for a higher deposit, which seems fair to me.

We've all heard those dog owners who claim "he's lovely, wouldn't hurt a fly’ - Yes, but he is a dog, not a human and he has specific dog-like traits when feeling threatened, scared etc. It's in their genes.

Similarly, the usual rational from a would-be pet owner tenant is "He's just a small dog, doesn’t chew and is really well behaved". That may be the case, but dogs like everything/everyone else, get sick and/or old, and then it's a whole new ball game.

So please be realistic as a would-be tenant and consider the Landlord’s concerns - they are real and is your request reasonable?

As for Landlords, I just have this to say:

I would choose a tenant with a pet any day, if they are the best candidates in every other way, as opposed to a less viable applicant simply because they do not have a pet.

It is worth bearing in mind, that if you intend to have a pet further down the line, please ensure that you have your landlord’s permission first. It is unlikely that they will refuse if you are a good tenant and your request is reasonable. One or two cats/one or two dogs may be reasonable, any more is likely to cause concern. 

As someone who inspects properties during a tenancy, I would just like to share with you my thoughts on that in relation to pets.

I personally love dogs - but have been growled at aggressively by so-called "soft dogs" during an inspection. This is totally not on, and we expect our tenants to be responsible pet owners and have dogs on a lead and under control during a property inspection. It's also not great having to navigate the minefields of dog poo in the garden. Just saying.

On the other hand, I really dislike cats, I would never hurt one but do not want them sidling up to me during an inspection. They may be your little pride and joy, but not everyone’s so please let us know in advance if we are likely to walk in on one during an inspection.

My worst ever incident by cat, was during an inspection with an equally terrified of cats inspector last year. We entered what we thought was a regular pet free home, upon entering the hall a cat launched itself down the stairs just missing both of us. It was not a pretty sight.

To make matters worse, we both rushed into the dining room and relative safety, to be greeted by two more cats and five huge piles of cat sick.

So, in conclusion, if you have pets, remind us when we are booking our inspections, please.

Pet Update 

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