UK pet friendly properties

Top Tips Relocating From The US To The UK With Pets

09.01.2024 05:33 pm

My US clients refer to me as a broker specialising in UK pet friendly properties. I offer a bespoke service. It is all about looking after your clients. The odd time this has meant advising them to pull out of a property as this client recently pointed out in a testimonial:

“Russell is dedicated to getting you a good result. He’s not driven just to secure a fee. In one instance he gently encouraged us to move on from negotiating with a first-time, nervous landlord he judged might cause trouble down the road. His Spidey sense told him she wasn’t a good fit. I deeply appreciate this about him. Ultimately the flat he negotiated for our family was better in every way. We couldn’t be happier. I’m steps from a park for the dog, shopping and the tube. A perfect result, really.” Californian client with a cat & a dog

Here are some important tips:

Plan ahead:

The UK property rental market is not simple. It is competitive. Give yourself at least 2 months. If you don’t know the areas you are relocating to, allow at least 3 months.

Preparation is so important:

I can make introductions to trusted Visa experts, school’s companies, currency exchange professionals, pet friendly short let companies. If I don’t know, I will know someone that does.


With UK renting it is all about showing you are a responsible tenant and can afford to pay the rent. Show your pets won’t damage the property and won’t bark late at night. Here are the documents I advise you have prepared in advance if you can.

  • Employers reference
  • Landlord Reference
  • Pet CV
  • Vet or doggy day care reference
  • Proof of funds
  • UK Guarantor set up

Types of UK Properties & locations:

What kind of property would you prefer. A new build/ high rise, or would you rather live in a more ‘English’ Victorian style property? What about locations, commuting to work, close to friends or relatives?


Knowing your budget is important. That will dictate where you should look. Without that, you can’t focus your search.

US client ‘pet hates’ (excuse the pun):

The big one is the under the counter tiny fridge/ freezer. I have had a client love the flat and that was a big no no. Also in some Victorian properties you get narrow corridors, another thing people don’t like as well as dark properties. Being far from shops and transport is a big negative.

Issue with US funds transfers:

This is an important point. In the UK, once a property is agreed, you pay a 1 week holding deposit. This takes the property off the market, meaning nobody else can counter-offer and take the place from you.

The issue here is that funds take time from the US to the UK. Some estate agents will accept a bank screenshot. Others will only accept cleared funds in their account. If you have a UK bank account, have some funds in that to make a quick transfer. With some clients, I make the transfer to quickly secure the property. A recent client had his Father who is UK based to pay it. Something to consider.


Be flexible when it comes to move in dates. Be prepared to take a property a week or two earlier. Also with pets, unfurnished can be easier to agree, so be flexible on furnishings. The same can be said for locations; many a time, clients have ended up in different areas based on my advice and loved it.

Reference Checks:

What I say to clients is, don’t worry if you fail a reference check. Some reference companies are quite ‘robotic’. They only look at income in pound sterling rather than consider other currencies. There are ways to work round it.

Tenancy Agreement & special conditions:

Never assume. Put everything in writing. That includes for the property to be professionally cleaned when you move in. If walls need to be painted, items removed, ask in writing as part of your offer.

Pets Clause:

Make sure there is one in your tenancy agreement that mentions your pet(s) by name and breed. Without this you have no legal standing if the landlord were to turn round and say no to pets.

In the UK we have a very ‘antiquated’ property system. It is unusual and can be confusing. For advice from myself or fellow pet owners who have ‘been there & done that’, feel free to join the Relocating To The UK With Pets Group

It’s all about client testimonials. This is one from a recent US client:

“My family and I relocated to England (from California) at the end of 2023 with our two cats. After doing some research about renting in the UK, I stumbled upon Pets Lets. My wife and I hopped on an initial call with Russell and went over our situation. He was very helpful from the start, immediately helping remove some stress. A few months later, I flew out to England to look at some houses with Russell. I sent him a few and he recommended some others, the house we actually ended up with is one he found while I was over there! (The house is perfect for us). Russell is a fantastic person to work with on a professional level, but also just a really nice person to be around. My parents were there as well and he made sure to make them feel a part of the hunt!

The UK housing market is rough, houses/flats popup quickly and are just as quickly snatched up. Having someone like Russell in your corner will really help. We highly recommend him! Thank you for all your help Russell/Pets Lets!”

This article was written by Russell Hunt, a specialist pet friendly UK property broker and Founder of Pets Lets with over 25 years experience in London property and a fellow dog owner with a beagle/ basset.**