Can I Have A Pet Please?

Date Published 08 November 2021

Can I have a pet please?

This little question is one that's often in the mind of tenants, but is sometimes considered as one of those questions that a landlord just doesn't want to hear! What's that all about?

Here we look at some of the things that both tenants and landlords should think about when the whole subject of PETS comes up.

I'm a tenant and I would really very much like to have a pet!
First up, before you ask your landlord or agent, think back to when you viewed the property. You may have been advised that it's a ‘no pets' tenancy or it may have been that pets are allowed with permission.

Can't remember? No problem … look at your tenancy agreement.
Your tenancy agreement will make it perfectly clear whether pets are allowed or not and there may even be a separate ‘pet clause' that outlines any extra conditions that you have to meet, so read through it and check first.

If pets are allowed, great! But don't buy your fluffy, scaly or feathery friend just yet! If you need permission then this is usually needed ‘in writing' first. Send a short request to your landlord or agent outlining a few details of the pet you're thinking about and wait for the reply. It can usually be by email if that's more convenient. They will then have to consider if any problems may arise. For example, if you're in a flat and also go to work, then they may think that having a dog could turn out to be unsuitable due to the poor access to outdoor spaces and the disturbance to others by a barking dog whilst you're not at home. They may be fine however if you're thinking of having some tropical fish or a hamster. Every landlord will be different, so do check.

Whatever the result of your request, keep a record of it. Talking is always good and there may be a bit of room for manoeuvre if the answer is not what you expected, so have a chat with the landlord or agent to confirm whether there is any. Please don't get upset if the answer is still no. Here's why.

When tenancies end, a sum will be taken from your deposit if any damage has been caused by your pet (or you!), the most common one being for the cleaning of carpets, so, unless you have the carpets professionally cleaned when you move out, you may find that this happens to you. Cat and dog hairs get deep into carpet pile no matter how clean you are. Also, cats naturally scratch walls and pluck carpets … and have you got a good spot for the litter tray?

Thinking of a fish tank? Fish-keeping is a lovely hobby, but bear in mind that the larger tanks are often heavy and can leave marks on the floor. Don't forget about possible leaks and spillages too, especially or wooden/laminate floors.

Landlords have enough to do at the end of a tenancy and if their property has been damaged by a pet, it won't go down well. So whether you're thinking of a poodle or persian, gecko or goldfish, canary or cockatoo, please give some thought about any damage that could happen and which you would be liable to correct or pay for.

Help! I'm a landlord and the tenant wants a pet!

First of all, don't panic. Did you include a pets clause in your tenancy agreement? If so, remind yourself of the details before giving a resounding ‘no'. What pet do they want? Is the pet suitable for the property, outdoor space and proximity to neighbours? It will be ultimately down to you to give a decision, and also to be a little bit flexible if it's just a goldfish in a bowl or a canary in a small cage for the tenant's six-year-old. Follow your gut instincts as you'll know whether it feels right or not. There's nothing wrong with giving a polite but firm ‘no', but be prepared for a conversation to take place so that all angles have been covered. At the end of the day, it's your property and what you say goes. Do keep a record of the request and outcome. If your tenancy agreement doesn't include a pet clause, then it could be a good idea to include one, so get advice from your agent or online.

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that a pet certainly turns a house in to a home! They provide brilliant company and the house feels empty without one. But there's always a chance that damage can be caused (either directly or accidentally) and disputes arise which can be unpleasant for all concerned.

Talk about it, give it some serious thought, and before freaking out the landlord by asking if you can have a Boa Constrictor, ask yourself one question … would a budgie be better instead?!!!