Why NOT to hide a Pet from your Landlord
Did you know that just under half the UK population owns a pet? It would not surprise me if that has now risen to 50% with the pre and post lockdown rush to adopt a pet. We all know friends or relatives who have a new puppy. In the US, 85 million families own a pet. A staggering statistic.
So, it is not uncommon for people to have a dog or cat. To many your pet is part of the family, it is like having a ‘child’ that you look after, who welcomes you home each time. Even if you have been gone for only 5 minutes. It’s comforting for everyone.
You move into your home and settle in. What’s missing; of course, a ‘four-legged’ friend. Always wanted a cat or dog. What will the landlord say? How will they find out? We never see them. They don’t drop by. What could possibly go wrong, it’s fine.
One Tip. If you are considering a dog or cat, run it by the landlord first and see the reaction.
In many UK rentals, there are no pets’ clauses. Cities like London, Manchester and Edinburgh are full of blocks that do not allow pets. That is why renting with a pet can be a real problem. You need to plan well in advance.
It is irrelevant whether a property allows pets or not. You should notify the landlord. Your tenancy agreement is a contract and needs to specify a pet.
Our Pets & Property Facebook Group is all about educating landlords about the positives of allowing pets as well as offering advice to pet owners. Feel free to ask any questions. At Pets Lets we offer expert advice. We relocate clients with pets from around the world to London and the Home Counties.
Reasons why it is a BAD idea to hide a pet from your landlord:
You Could Be Evicted
It there is not a pet’s clause in your tenancy agreement, specifying your dog(s) or cat(s), then the landlord has a right to evict you. It is irrelevant if the building allows pets or not. It is about the agreement you signed with your landlord. If you are considering a dog or cat when moving in, then ask the landlord. If they are against the idea, you may need to find somewhere else. If they are okay with it, then make sure a pet’s clause is inserted in the tenancy agreement. You must have everything in writing. If you have an idea of the breed of say dog, you should say so. A landlord may well be fine with a Pug or Cockapoo, but may have an issue with a Giant schnauzer or a Great Dane.
The tip is to plan and foresee potential issues
Neighbours May Report You
This is something you are not in control of. In many blocks there are people who like to ‘make it their business’ to know what everyone is doing. If dogs are not allowed, they will make it their mission to inform the managing agent or the landlord. All it takes if for the dog to bark late at night or even been seen leaving the flat to go for a walk.
Having To Explain Any Damage By A Pet
Accidents can happen. How do you explain it if your cat claws a piece of furniture or your puppy chews a chair leg because it is teething. You will have to be very inventive if the landlord wants to personally inspect the damage. Do you really want the pressure of this hanging over you for the length of the tenancy, which could be at least a year.
Could Be Undone By A Dog Bark
As referred to this before. You cannot stop a dog barking. The postman drops off your letters, your dog sees a squirrel in the garden, or they take a dislike to a person at the door.
Smell is another thing you are not in control of. You can use all the air fresheners you want and burn incense to cover up the smell of a dog or cat. At the end of the day, you may not notice it, but all it takes is for a landlord with a sensitive nose to spot it straight away. If ask, how will you respond? Once you start bending the truth it is a very slippery slope.
Dogs and cats have their play toys. Are you always going to make sure they are locked up in a cupboard every time someone is at the door? Yes, most landlords will inform you of a visit, some will just knock on the door. It just takes that one time.
Not Fair on Your Dog or Cat
Dogs and cats can feel tension in the air. That unease is not fair on them as well as you. Best to be open with a landlord or find somewhere else to live.
Living with Stress
There is enough stress in life with work and everyday matters. Why bring it unnecessarily upon yourself. Finding a pet friendly property can be more difficult and time consuming. Only 15% of London landlords allow pets. With a growing number of tenants with pets, landlords are considering pets more. Like everything, it takes time to change the mindset that dogs and cats cause damage to properties and bark late at night.
Pets Mag wrote good article about a bill that is going through the UK Parliament to end pet discrimination. The second reading in the House of Commons will be in January. Like any bills there are a number of ‘hurdles’ to jump through before it can become law. Fingers crossed.
You Cannot Ask for a Pet Reference
If you ‘don have a pet’ according to the landlord, then how can you ask for reference for the next property? The agent or landlord for the next property make think it suspicious that you cannot get a reference from your previous landlord. If you tell them why, they will also wonder what else you may hide from them. It really depends on the individual as to how they will interpret it. You just end up leaving yourself in a tricky position. You would need to get a reference from a Vet instead. There are knock on effects when you don’t tell the truth or hide it. Somewhere along the line it will catch up.
The other knock on effect is that you give other pet owners a bad reputation. Landlords talk to each other. All it takes is one bad experience with pets and they won’t allow them again. One step forwards and two steps back for tenants with pets. If that landlord has a portfolio, then even more properties are a no go for pets.
Here is an interesting Australian Article about why you should not hide your pets from a landlord. The principles are the same across the other side of the globe. This is compared to another article offering Tips on how to hide your pet, with a caveat at the end saying that it is not a good idea really.
Russell is the Founder of Pets Lets, a 100% pet friendly London property portal with a Relocation Service. Pets Lets is a community where people with pets’ matter. Russell is a staunch advocate for increasing the number of pet friendly landlords in the city.
If in doubt, come join our [Pets & Property Tips Facebook Group] (https://www.facebook.com/groups/petsandpropertytips) for professional advice on renting with dogs and cats in the UK.