Should I have a pet clause in the tenancy agreement?

News at Eden Harper | 05/12/2018

It can prove a divisive issue, keeping pets in rental properties. Naturally, animal-lovers would relish the chance to have a furry friend in their home.

Tenants even have the support of politicians on this matter, with the Labour Party’s new plans to give renters the right to keep pets in their residences.

But, on the other hand, the presence of pets could cause serious damage to a landlord’s investment. So, you may be wondering, what’s the deal with pets in rental properties? Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

Are landlords allowed to include a pet clause?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that landlords cannot refuse tenants the right to keep pets. Yet, in practice, you can bypass this via ‘reasonable refusal’. Landlords have the right to refuse pets due to the negative impact they may have on a property and future lettings. Landlords also have a right to refuse pets depending on the circumstances, for instance, if a tenant wants to keep a large dog in a small apartment. Essentially, if you have a reasonable complaint then you can include a pet clause in the tenancy agreement. At Eden Harper, we include a pet clause in all of our tenancy agreements, where we suggest not to keep any animals, birds, reptiles or pets of any description without the consent of the Landlord. This is in order to avoid misunderstandings or disputes later.

Why include a pet clause?

There are several ways pets could prove a hindrance to your properties. They may cause damage to a property, for which you will have to fork out the money to fix. If tenants have pets, it may be off-putting to future residents, particularly those who have allergies. So, pets could negatively affect your returns. Moreover, there’s the danger of fleas and other pests becoming an issue. Some pets can also cause a lot of noise, which neighbors would doubtless find displeasing, and you would be left to deal with any complaints.

What are pet deposits?

Not all landlords are against pets. If you are going to allow your tenants to keep pets, then you will need to carry out checks prior to the tenancy. This can be done via a simple conversation with tenants and their references. Ask questions, such as are they a responsible pet owner and is there somebody to take care of the pet in case of an emergency?

You may also ask for a pet deposit for rental properties. This will make the deposit higher than it usually would be to account for any damage caused by pets. Your deposit should be put in a government-recognised scheme, as is usual. You can find out more about protecting a tenant’s deposit in a previous article.

Alternatively, you can agree with the tenant before the tenancy that they will have the property professionally cleaned when they move out.

What should I do if tenants keep pets without permission?

In this case, you have the right to refuse to continue the tenancy at the end of the term. You may also evict tenants through the Section 21 notice procedure.

Whether you decide to include a pet clause in your tenancy agreement is entirely at your discretion.

For further advice, feel free to contact a member of our property management team. We work with tenants across the Battersea and Brixton areas.