dog with owners sat on floor in apartment

Pets are adorable – except when they are chewing up your furnished rental property and depreciating the value of your rental yield. Can you relate?

Where do your rights as a landlord stand and what restrictions can you enforce before and during a tenancy? It’s one thing having a small poodle who appears quite charming at the start of the tenancy, but what if your tenant’s pet starts generating constant noise complaints?

Before falling out with your tenants let’s walk through what you can legally do and how to avoid any unexpected new furry friends during the agreement. 

Can I evict a tenant for having a pet?

No, you can’t. Landlords have been criticised as of late for their limited reasoning over ‘no pet ownership’ in a property. 

There is no immediate action you can take as a landlord to remove the tenant or the pet if there is no harm to the value of the property. 

If the tenancy has already begun and the tenant takes on a pet, you should quickly discover this during your six-month checks on the property. You might have even discovered this with your ‘good communication stream’ that you’ve set up with your tenant prior to the tenancy beginning. 

Image of cat lying on a sofa.

What does the new Rental Reform 2022 say about pet ownership? 

The new Rental Reform in 2022 states that ‘everybody has the right to rent’ and that every tenant has an entitlement to ‘enjoyment of the peace’ once they have signed on the dotted line and started paying you rent money. 

The Reform goes on to say that unless the landlord can provide good reasoning within 28 days of the tenant’s request to have a pet as to why a property would not be suitable for an animal, they are now unable to reject tenants based on the fact they want to live with a pet or are pet owners.

Reasons your property may not be suitable for a pet 

There are several reasons why your property may not be suitable for a pet. These include:

  • If the animal is too large for property and it impacts its welfare 
  • If there is no outdoor space for the animal 
  • If the breed is illegal or dangerous
  • If the animal has known behavioural issues with other humans or animals
  • If the animal is considered an exotic pet and not for the purpose of being kept as a pet
  • If the animal is creating too much noise consistently, it would disturb the enjoyment of the peace of other tenants and or neighbours. 

Image of a St Bernard dog in a home.

When can I take action against my tenant for having a pet?

If you’re an experienced landlord, you’ll be carrying out your six-month checks and making sure the fire safety is checked, any repairs to wires, pipes and heating are completed and the general wear and tear of the place is of a standard you would expect for any person to be actively living in a property. 

However, if you’re walking to a space that has clear destruction because of a pet or the neighbours have issued a formal complaint to the council, you can take action. 

Additionally, if the property has malicious damage or is considered unsafe with exposure to animal excrement and mess, you will be able to start the process of evicting your tenant. 

Steps to take to remove a tenant from your property 

You’ll only be able to evict your tenant prior to the end of the agreement if they have broken the assured shorthold agreement. This means you need to make sure they completely understand every section of it before signing it. 

Proof of communication to your tenant 

You must communicate with your tenant in writing and give them clear instructions as to why the behaviour or conditions of the property are not acceptable. Give the tenant a list of repairs and a reasonable deadline for them to complete them. If the deadline isn’t met, then you can move on to the next step.

Raising a complaint with your local council 

The Rental Reform isn’t just set out to protect tenants. Local councils are well aware that at times, tenants are the problem. From 2023, a local council rental ombudsman will be the person responsible for reviewing and inspecting your property. 

Having the appropriate and fair communication stream as stated before will prove that you are taking the right steps and giving the tenant a chance to rectify the issue. 

Go to court to get a possession order for the property

Local councils are set to take on more responsibility for mediating these types of discrepancies and help you reclaim possession of the property if it is being abused by an owner and a pet. You can get more information on the Gov UK website.  

Bailiffs can help remove your tenant

The landlord (you) can not remove anyone or any pets from the property yourself. This will have to go through a court-hired bailiff who will deal with the tenant.

We sincerely hope you do not face any unforeseen pet-related issues which may cause damage to the property. 

Check out our advice page for more information on how to protect your property and start the tenancy off on the right footing. CIA are here to take your call. Get in touch to discuss your landlord insurance with us today. 

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