The Joys (aka Nightmare) of Renting In London When You Have a Pet

Written by Héloïse Ferrie for Overglam

Have you ever tried renting in London when you have a pet? Our guess is if you’re reading this, you’ve been struggling as much as any pet owner living here. From landlords who will ask for a strict no pets and no children policy, to the ones who’ll say they’re open to the idea before signing the contract but will change their mind once you’ve moved in, here’s a guide to help you find your pet friendly dream home (yes, it is possible, we promise!)

We’re all in this together

First of all, what you need to know is that you’re not the only one struggling. Half of the adult population currently owns a pet. But let’s face it, not half of the population has the means to be a home owner. Renting is a nice solution when you’re in your 20s, 30s and 40s as this is the time where our lives change the most; our households expand, our jobs require us to move, so our home evolves with our life, which is a good thing!

The issue starts however, with landlords. Only 7% landlords are currently advertising their properties as suitable for pets in Britain. Only 7%. So what’s the trick? How can half a population own a pet but only 7% of landlords allow them on their property? Because the landlords are afraid of damages caused by them.

Your landlord doesn’t know how great you are yet

The reason why landlord tend to be so difficult with pets, is because on their perspective, accepting an animal on their property is only adding a source of potential problem that can easily be avoided by simply refusing them. What kind of issue? Causes can be multiple: noise nuisance for your neighbours, furniture/property damage that can cost them money once the tenant vacates the place, the smell some animals can leave. Now, as pet owners, we know that all those troubles can be easily washed away if you actually train your dog and take care of your home. But keep in mind that your future landlords has no guarantee on that until you’ll leave their property as clean as when you first visited it.

Some landlords have also nothing against pets, but living in a co-owned building might mean that other owners are not okay with animals.

How to start looking

So how to start searching knowing all this? The first step is to know where and how to look. You’ll find practical apps for you to use that will help you in your adventurous journey.

  • Zoopla: Zoopla is probably one of the most known apps when it comes to house searching, and for good reasons! When entering your requirements, you get to tick a “pet’s allowed” box which will only select the flats whose landlords are allowing pets.
  • Movebubble: though less known than Zoopla, Movebubble is a great app to help you search for your dream how thanks to their “pet friendly” feature.

Show how responsible you are

Once you’ve found properties allowing animals, it’s important to let the agency in charge of the place to know it’s your first research criteria. This way, even if the flat or house you’re visiting isn’t the one, the agents will be able to go through their property list and see which other would be available for you. You can also offer to the agencies to include in a future contract an extra deposit to cover any damage your pet could make in the house, an, as well as regulated visits on the property every six months to ensure the good care of the place. It will show them a sense of responsibility, as well as understanding the potential fear of reticent landlords.

Make a good case of your pet

To put all chances on your side, prepare yourself, show how reliable you are by giving a full biography of your dog: age, breed, behaviour, training, recent vaccinations, flea treatments, any reference from your vet will help your case! You can also ask your current landlord for a recommendation letter, showing that you are capable of maintaining the place.

If you’re able to work from home, or you workspace is dog friendly, mention it! It means that you either will be there for your pet during day time to watch over its actions.

Honesty is key

It might seem like a silly advice but it is the most important one. We know it can be discouraging to find a place willing to welcome your furry friend, but keep in mind that not mentioning you had a pet to your future landlord could have important consequences. If they were to discover after property inspections, through complaints from your neighbours, this would result to a breach of contracts which could lead to an eviction in the worst-case scenario; at best, it will create a tension between you as they might feel forced to allow pets in the future.

If your landlord accepts pets, make sure to get a written permission to prevent from any possible “misunderstanding”.

With all this in mind, the only thing we have left to tell you is: GOOD LUCK!