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Petiquette: Rules for Living in a Flat with a Pet

When renting, it’s best to keep your four-legged friend in good check to keep your landlord and neighbours happy.

Faye deGavre

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Jul 15, 2021

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5 min read

Petiquette: Rules for Living in a Flat with a Pet

We’re a nation of animal lovers, made even more prevalent by the pandemic sparking many more of us to bring home a furry friend. While the new renting with pets law is in favour of Fang and Mrs Whiskers (more on that below), not every neighbour is going to love having a dog or cat next door. It may require some effort on your part to keep the landlord, your neighbour and pet content. Here’s your oppawtunity to keep everyone sweet.

Is it legal for landlords to refuse pets?

A total of 3.2 million households have welcomed a pet into their homes since the start of the pandemic. And not just for companionship, but because the mental health benefits of pets, including reducing stress and anxiety, can’t be ignored. Yet, with just 7% of private landlords advertising pet-friendly properties, how do those in rental homes manage?

For decades, landlords have been able to refuse tenants because they come with a furry friend. However, earlier this year, a new law moved into effect that will mean landlords will accept well-behaved pets and lift the blanket ban on pets. Now, consent for pets will be the default position. Landlords can still oppose pets, but their objection must be put in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant – and with a good reason.

Although this means tenants don’t have unconditional rights to keep pets in rental properties, it does allow some leeway for those searching for properties to rent.

Etiquette when renting with pets

Not every pet is going to behave perfectly all the time. After all, they’re sentient beings with their own personality – that’s part of why we love them. Tragically, housing problems are some of the main reasons that pets are surrendered to charities and shelters. As a pet-owning renter, it’s your responsibility to ensure your pet is a welcome addition to the property.

  • Train them up

A well-trained dog is first prize. If your dog constantly barks, is aggressive with other neighbours or your cat scratches at doors, you won’t earn any blue ribbon awards. Teach your pet how to socialise nicely and keep quiet (even when you’re at work) to not disgruntle neighbouring renters. All animals should be toilet trained so that your rental is kept in the best condition possible. A bit of training in these areas is the first port of call.

  • Incorporate exercise

Walkies are (most) dogs’ favourite time of the day. There are people and dogs to see, places to sniff and the big wide world to play in. Walk your dog early in the morning to tire them out for the rest of the day. And don’t forget that cats need exercise, too. Feathery toys, strings and catnip pouches are great for keeping felines entertained.

  • Keep them calm

Generally, dogs bark if there’s a threat, if they’re bored or they’re suffering from separation anxiety. While barking at potential threats is justified, there are ways to keep your pooch content to prevent the other two reasons.

  1. Get a puzzle toy treat to keep them distracted
  2. Drown out noise by turning on the radio
  3. Leave your dog with a chew toy to keep them busy
  4. Give them something that smells like you (if separation anxiety is the issue)
  • Keep them clean

Dirty animals can leave a bad odour in the rental home – as well as a bad taste in neighbours’ mouths. Whenever you take your dog for a walk, be prepared to clean up after them. Keep your furry friends clean if they have trouble doing so themselves, making sure to wipe down their paws and trim their nails frequently.

  • Deter destructive behaviour

Is your dog prone to chewing out of stress or boredom? Cat sharpen his claws on the doors? It’s essential to prevent them from destroying property that isn’t yours. Cats can be deterred by placing scratching posts against the door or wall so they learn to use that instead. For dogs, taking them out for a w-a-l-k can make all the difference. Even a good wrestle or stick-throwing session can fend off boredom.

If your pet continues to be destructive and disruptive, visit your vet to see if there are underlying issues. Once that’s ruled out, consider visiting a pet behaviouralist who may be able to pinpoint the issue.

Pet deposits

In England, a landlord can only charge a deposit of 5 weeks’ rent, which restricts them from adding a higher deposit for pets. As a result, some landlords choose to increase rents in case the pet causes any damage.

Elsewhere in the UK, landlords can charge a pet deposit – which is a deposit on top of your security deposit to cover any damages your pet causes.

Find a home for your family

These basic etiquette tips for pets in rental properties can help you and your furry friend coexist happily with neighbours and landlords. When you’re looking for houses to rent with pets, start your search early. The professional Estate Agents on Boomin can help you understand the latest on how to rent a house with pets. Get started on your search for a property to rent today.

Faye deGavre

Content Writer