10 Percent of Renters Hide Pets From Landlords

One in ten renters is concealing a pet from their landlords, fearing they will have to give up their furry friend if found out. 

The stress of playing pet hide-and-seek worries more than a third of renters who are scared of asking for permission to keep a pet in case they are turned down and evicted or forced to get rid of the creature.

Many tenants have admitted their landlord caught them red-handed with a secret pet during a surprise visit to their home, being spotted while on a dog walk or by a tip-off.

But 87 per cent of tenants believe there are benefits to keeping a pet, like combating loneliness and reducing stress.

According to research by Battersea Dogs' Home and Mars Petcare, two out of three renters support measures flagged as part of the forthcoming Renters' Reform Bill will make keeping a pet easier in a privately rented home.

Ban on pets

The current law allows landlords to ban pets. However, the government offers a free model tenancy agreement with a pet-friendly section. The hope for pet-owning tenants is that the template will become law as part of the reforms.

If the model agreement does become law, renters must ask landlords if they can keep a pet, and the landlord can only refuse if the property is unsuitable for homing the pet.

But if they are satisfied the tenant is a responsible pet owner and the pet is suitable to keep on the property, the request should be granted.

For instance, in a recent case, a tenant wanted to keep a goat in an apartment. Permission was refused on several grounds, including the goat being too big to keep in a flat.

Landlords cannot ask for a higher deposit to keep a pet if the amount breaks deposit rules set by the Tenant Fees Act, and the rules usually cap the deposit at no more than five weeks' rent.

Pet damage insurance

“If this is approved – and that’s a big if – it will make renting a private property easier for tenants with pets. It would give tenants the right to request to have a pet at their property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse,” says the report.

“The proposals will also enable landlords to require pet damage insurance, and we know from research that 42 per cent of landlords said they would be more willing to consider pets if they could insist on insurance against pet-caused damage.”

Battersea Dogs' Home and Mars want landlords and tenants to sign a pledge supporting pet ownership in privately rented homes to speed the process.

Click here to sign the pledge.

“The government agenda is busier than ever, but that doesn’t mean the rights of renters and our cities’ pets should fall to the end of a long list! We know how many benefits pet ownership can bring, and we want everyone to be able to enjoy those benefits,” says the report.

“So, as part of the campaign, we are calling all pet owners to stand together to ensure the Renters’ Reform Bill is passed, so that we can make our cities better for all our pets and people.”

Pets and rented homes FAQ

Where can I get a tenancy agreement?

Guild subscribers can download PDF tenancy agreements and occupation contracts, including a clause restricting animals without the landlord's consent.

Click here for more information.

When will the Renters' Reform Bill become law?

The bill still has to go before Parliament. Ministers have promised to introduce the bill during this session of Parliament, which is due to end in the autumn.

Must I have a no-pets clause in a tenancy agreement?

Including a clause in a tenancy agreement explaining if a tenant can keep a pet is good practice. However, the landlord should ensure the type of pet is suitable for the property and unlikely to annoy neighbours.

Can I charge a fee for a pet?

No, landlords cannot charge a fee on top of rent to tenants with a pet because the Tenant Fees Act does not recognise the fee.

Are chickens considered pets?

Although the law talks about keeping pets, most people accept the broader issue is keeping animals at a privately rented home. Tenants can keep hens or rabbits on land they rent if the keeping is not for trade or business.

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Tenant Obligations

Landlords may impose reasonable obligations on the tenant that affect their behaviour (including anti-social behaviour) and their visitors through the tenancy agreement. In addition, occupiers of HMOs have specified legal obligations under the Management of HMO regulations referred to above, and every occupier mus