OpenRent Community

No Pets Clause - unenforceable?


#1

Hello landlords,

I have had some bad experience renting to pet owners and I now want to add a clause to stop tenants getting pets. I already advertise ‘no pets’ but want to make sure I am protected if they get pets during the tenancy. My last tenant took in a cat with predicatable consequences for furniture, carpet, etc.

My Question; I have heard that it is inadvisible to write “Tenant is forbidden to keep pets” or similar in the contract as this is not a ‘reasonable clause’. Can anyone confirm this? How can I get around this as surely it is fair for landlords to not admit animals to their properties?

Many thanks,
Simon


#2

Simon it’s commonly said that a firm ‘no pets’ clause is unfair as per the terms of the 1999 Consumer Contracts Regulations Act. I found this article on the Evening Standard site as an example.

But if you look at the actual ‘Unfair Terms’ section of the legislation, then it isn’t obvious - to me at least. I’d love to know what section here supposedly makes it unfair to say ‘no pets’. :woman_shrugging:

My person opinion is that it’s perfectly fair not to want animals in your property!


#3

Ah-ha - a closer look at Schedule 2 of the of the Act gives some examples but I don’t have time to check them all! :joy:


#4

I would also like to know this. I assume it is something your agent would know however?


#5

The way I do this with my landlords is to have a clause that says “no pets in the property without the permission of the agent (or landlord for you Simon) which will not be reasonably withheld”.

Had this in dozens of tenancies over many years and not issues yet. Tenants still bring pets in without permission sometimes but then we are nicely covered with that clause.


#6

Thank-you Michael that sounds very sensible.

Legal Nerd thank you also, though I am not sure I can follow your points entirely I do think I have the information I sought thank you.


#7

I was advised if you do accept pets to take say double the deposit as they potentially could cause more damage. Sounded like a plan to me! Good luck.


#8

Big deposit puts tenants off but yes if they are already set on the property its worth asking for big deposit for pets.


#9

I allowed a dog after tenant gave extra deposit and a clause for prof cleaning with defleaing at the end. Dog hasn’t done damage which is good, since tenant hasn’t paid his last month’s rent and don’t know yet if will do the prof clean - so most of deposit could be eaten up! I’ll try hard not to do pets next time. ‘Not to be reasonably withheld’ is easily met - there are plenty of reasons!!


#10

Hello all, I enthusiastically recommend the ‘Good Practice Guidelines’ courtesy of DogsTrust. You can find this handy guide here on their website http://www.letswithpets.org.uk/landlords/good-practice-guidelines-landlords. I found it immensely useful. That said, respectful tenants help too!
Best wishes


#11

UK laws generally protect landlords in a way not so many countries do. You can more or less do whatever you feel as a landlord to edge your risk against pets (or anything that bothers you about your tenants, except for protected characteristics).

On pets, the Consumer Act asking for a reason to refuse pets is not enforced since tenants do not go to court to have their rights respected over abusive refusals of pets. It is morally wrong for landlords to refuse animals out of the blue though. When you do so, you share responsibility for pets being abandoned. Tenants need a place to live and landlords refusals are the main reason why pet owners abandon their pets in the UK. You may also be discriminating against people that cannot have kids. The UK is an exception and many other countries are much stricter. In France, refusing tenants with pets is lifestlyle-based discrimination and expose landlords to heavy fines (up to EUR 45,000).

Honestly, increasing rent and/or deposit will allow you to keep a good tenant with a pet and do what is right. This is different if the pet is a real nuisance.