References required – even for your pet!

Tessa Shepperson answers questions on whether you can let with a pet

Who's up for eviction then?

Who's up for eviction then?

I have had a very good prospective tenant apply for my property but she wants to keep her dog there. Should I let her? It depends on whether you consider she is in control of her dog! Responsible pet owners can make excellent tenants. However you should take references about the pet and see her and her pet together, ideally in their current home. Make sure the dog is microchipped and has had all its vaccinations Ask about dog training. The dog also has to be suitable for your particular property, ie no big dogs in small flats. Make sure also that there is someone who can care for it in case of emergency.

I am looking to rent a property but I have a dog. How can I persuade a landlord to let me keep him with me? Landlords are mainly concerned to have regular rent payments and their property looked after properly. Dogs worry them as they don’t want to spend a lot of money cleaning and getting rid of fleas after dog owners depart. You need to persuade the landlord that your dog will not cause any problems and that their property will not be damaged. He will therefore want to know about dog training, and will want a ‘reference’ e.g. from a previous landlord. You should also have someone prepared to look after your dog if anything happens to you, for example if you have an accident and are hospitalised. You should also be prepared to pay a higher than average deposit, and perhaps also a non refundable ‘pet payment’ to cover the cost of processional cleaning when you leave.

I have just discovered that my tenants have bought a cat. I don’t allow pets, what can I do? Be aware that absolute prohibitions against pets in tenancy agreements will be void under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. The clause must say that tenants should ask your permission which will not be refused unreasonably. Have a word with your tenants. If the cat is toilet trained and they are looking after it properly (a scratch post is a good idea) you may want to let them keep it. It is reasonable though for you to ask for an extra deposit (so long as the total does not exceed two months

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rent) or a non refundable pet payment for professional cleaning when they go. However if you think the pet is unsuitable for your property you should serve a section 21 notice to terminate the tenancy. *Tessa Shepperson is a solicitor, and author, and editor of the Landlord-Law web-site at

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