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Renting with pets

According to a research conducted back in 2016, nearly half of UK’s population owns a pet. The same statistic also suggests that now, roughly one in five homes is occupied by a pet-owning family. So, that means there should be more pet-friendly real estate to go around, right?

Are Pet Owners Still Struggling to Find Pet-friendly Homes?

Yes. The unfortunate reality is that finding a renting accommodation that will take your pet with you is every bit as tedious as it always has been. 78% of pet owners experience problems finding a rental property. For most landlords letting a pet in the property is a gamble. And, if you do find a property that tolerates fluffers, chances are that the owner will request a second security deposit, in addition to the one you already have to pay as a tenant.

Even worse, some landlords will only allow pets of certain breeds, weight, or may favour either dogs or cats only. Finding themselves at a crossroad, many pet owners are thus forced to either:

  • Gift their pets to a good friend;
  • Take them to a rehoming centre;
  • Put them to sleep.

However, there are several things you can do to significantly improve your chances of meeting a landlord who likes (or at least doesn’t mind being around) pets. Here is what you need to do.

Do Your Research Well in Advance

This may seem a bit obvious, but it’s worth pointing out. Give yourself enough time to properly search for a place that answers your personal needs and that of your pet. You are much more likely a suitable property and will have the chance to back off of a few offers before putting your back against the wall.

By acting on time, you will also make the process of finding and moving into a new place much less stressful for you and your furry buddy. You will have enough time to go between properties and gradually move luggage and prepare your new home.

Manage Your Expectations

When scanning the area or even a neighbouring town for a new place to call home, ensure that you have realistic expectations. For example, while it might be reasonable to look for a large yard that features a dog house as a Bullmastiff owner, you will be hard-pressed to find a landlord who will be able to fulfil your specific requirements.

A much better strategy is to keep your options open and discuss your needs with the owner when you both meet in person. You’d be surprised how big of a negotiating power you have, when the landlord is desperate to avoid another empty month.

Win the Letting Agents Over

There are many letting agencies out there who are truly passionate about helping pet-owning families land a good deal. If you’re working with an letting agency (and it might be a good idea, given your situation), try to win their hearts first by telling them a bit about your pet and showing them just how cute and harmless he/she is. If presented right, your agents will do their best to persuade homeowners that your application is worthy of their consideration.

Show Your Landlord that You Can Be Trusted

It’s all about making a great first impression.With the right documentation, proving that you are a responsible tenant should be a breeze.

For example, you need to show them that you have a stellar credit record. If you lived in other rental properties before, you can also present a reference from your previous landlord to prove that you are paying your rent and all other associated bills in their full amount and on time.

All of these (and a lot more) will be checked either way, when the agent performs a referencing on you. But having them with you on your first meeting with the landlord could help you pull the scales your way.

Provide All Necessary Pet Documentation

Make a folder of all important pet documents and hand them over to the property owner.

If you are missing a page or two, make sure to stop by your local vet to get everything you need. To make it easier for you, here is a short checklist of everything your pet folder needs to include:

  • Up-to-date vaccination records;
  • Microchip and licence numbers;
  • A spay/neuter certificate;
  • Your vet’s contact information;
  • Recent photos of your pet(s).

You will also win bonus points if you provide a pet reference from your previous landlord which states that your pet is well-behaved and didn’t cause any property damage. You can even go one step further and attach pictures of your current rental property to your reference to show that not a single surface has been clawed, chewed up, or muddied with haphazard pawprints.

Organise a “Meet & Greet” Session with Your Pets

Documents and references alone are often not enough to seal the deal. So, try to convince the homeowner to come over at your current rental and meet your fluffy buddies in person.

Now is your chance to show just how responsible of a pet owner you are by correcting your pet’s behaviour on the spot, if needed (for example placing a scratching cat near his scratching post). If all goes well, your owner should no longer have doubts about your tenancy and will be able to see your pets as the well-behaved, playful, and healthy-looking animals they really are.

If the landlord refuses to meet your animals for whatever reason (allergies, for example), you can present them with a short summary of your pet. Simply include a couple of cute pictures, a bit of information regarding his breed and size, his favourite toys and games, a list of his habits and you are all set. If you are a dog owner, you can also add a short list of tricks you’ve taught him to perform (“barrel roll”, etc.), as well as if he has received any further training.

Stick to Your Lease Agreement

Sure, finding a home where pets are allowed to roam freely is a bit difficult these days. This, however, does not mean that you should casually mention that you own a cat or a dog just before signing the agreement. Instead, you should openly communicate this fact to your landlord in your application by mentioning things like breed, size, behaviour, habits and other things that your landlord might want to know about.

Remaining silent until the last possible second will only frustrate homeowners and they will be in their full right to ask of you to remove the animal from their premises. They may even go the extra mile and file an eviction lawsuit against you since you are in breach of the agreement! Moral of the story: be sincere from the very beginning to avoid lots of trouble down the road.

Offer Further Reassurance (Only If Needed)

If the homeowner is still rather sceptical about your move even after meeting up with your pet and receiving proof that he is well-behaved, don’t give up because you still have a few more options.

For example, if the landlord is worried that your cat will leave scratch marks all over their furniture, communicate what you can do to keep things under control. This could be, for instance, buying sufficient scratching posts, furniture covers, or bringing your own furniture.

You can also offer them to pay for professional cleaning when the time comes to move out. The experts from Go Cleaners recommend comparing the quotes of several cleaning companies as well as their benefits and guarantees. Ensure that you are not overcommitting and spending more than you initially agreed for.

When All Else Fails, Offer a Pet Deposit

In case the landlord hasn’t already included this into their tenancy contract and none of the other options have worked so far, you can offer them to pay an additional pet deposit to ensure their peace of mind. However, if you cannot afford to immediately pay two deposits upfront, most homeowners will also agree to receive small monthly instalments of about £25 to £50.

A Few Final Words

To summarise, not all landlords are created equal and some will require more convincing than others until they finally budge and invite your pets in. However, some people can resist even the cutest of cat or dog faces, at which point you will be better off looking for another place to stay.

Sooner or later, you will find a person who is able to appreciate your fluffy family member and treat him as an equal. And once you do, make sure to spread the word about your agency as much as possible so that people in a similar position can find a pet-friendly rental in no time.

We advise you to check out Lets with Pets which offers support, information and resources to help you find a new home for you and your best friend.