Can I rent a property with pets?

Q: I’m looking to rent a property but have a dog, will this limit my options?

A: We’ve seen an increase in tenants with pets and it can be a major sticking point if you’re looking to rent a property. If you do have pets, be upfront with estate agents from the start. Some buildings don’t allow pets full stop, they’re not allowed under the terms of the ownership lease, so sometimes the landlord doesn’t even have a choice. However, within buildings which do allow pets, landlords will usually consider the type (and number) of pets you have on a case-by-case basis. By being upfront with the estate agents at the outset, you will avoid wasting your time – and theirs – viewing properties where pets won’t be accepted.

As you go further out of the centre of London, to areas such as Clapham, Fulham, and Richmond, we find that more landlords are open to the idea of pets, but if you’re looking to rent very centrally, you may find this a problem. If a landlord will accept a pet, be prepared to pay a bigger deposit against damage. Usually the deposit is six weeks’ rent, but if you have a pet the landlord or letting agent may insist on eight weeks’ rent or more. You may also need to pay a higher rent in return for keeping a pet. We manage a number of properties for a big landlord client of ours in a very smart new build development in Westminster, and a tenant offered the asking price rent but she had a dog and a cat. Our landlord wasn’t keen so the tenant in the end paid a 20% premium on top of the asking price in order to persuade him to accept them.

Some estate agents are very good at catering for pets, and will even have a search function on their website which allows you to search for pet friendly rental properties. One agent even suggests writing a pet CV and offers to help tenants draw one up!

If you do have a pet, make sure permission is written into the tenancy agreement. You could offer to introduce your pet to the landlord if that gives the landlord added comfort. One of my colleagues has her pet dog named in her tenancy agreement! Equally, if you think you may get a pet during the tenancy, ask for a clause to be included within the agreement stating that your landlord will not unreasonably withhold permission.

Review the wording carefully. I checked one agreement for a client of ours who potentially wanted a dog at some point, but the agreement only gave permission for reptiles and made no mention of mammals, so we had to get that changed.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email or tweet her @joeccles.