OpenRent Community

No Pets Clause - unenforceable?

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

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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!

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:

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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!!

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

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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.

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Some interesting answers here!

Consider this as a clause…?


(4:5) Not to keep or allow to visit in or on the Property any animals, including reptiles, insects, rodents and birds without the prior and ‘creature-specific’ written permission of the Landlord, which will not be unreasonably withheld but may be time-limited at the Landlord’s absolute discretion.
Any such permission would likely be subject to an additional ‘animal deposit’ and other conditions. Attention is drawn that this contract has been signed with this clause highlighted and is reasonably offered and agreed as a ‘no pets property’ throughout the Tenancy period.


Tweak as you see fit or disregard. It was my last take on that matter when I edited an AST some time ago. I would review the legislation before I re-drafted a fixed term. “Clarity in writing” is everything in this game.
The ‘creature-specific’ bit has methodology beyond its unintended humour. If you are foolish enough to formerly accept a pet in writing, the outdoor cat they said they were going to have could become the three boxers already on order… or join the cat to make a foursome!
Nice. Not.
Smelly, if nothing else.
Be cynical, be safe! (I really mean realistic and cautious but use the adjective that suits you!)

An additional animal deposit is essential, not considered unreasonable by precedent and so has become ‘the established norm,’
But, be sure you conform to the latest nonsense re: 5 wk deposit cap. I have not had a chance to look into that yet, in regard to whether additional deposit such as for animals is part of the equation…

…OpenRent… your input here, please.

Remember: the deposit is NOT the pet cleaning fee which should be seen as a charge ‘at cost.’ Check against current and recently changed legislation.

I would also suggest you require that a professional clean fee is taken IN ADVANCE and for which you promise to give copy of an invoice receipt on departure, on request. Thus proving it will ultimately be a not-for-profit reasonable, quantifiable expense. If you take £150, that should cover most properties for a comprehensive ‘pet allergies’ clean and I would give them the change if there is any.
Up-front? How dare I?! This is because, essentially, it reduces the risk of ill-feeling at the end of Tenancy when you are requiring payment for something once as they are on the way out. The reasonable applicant will ‘get it.’ At the beginning, Tenants are inherently more compliant - absolute human nature- because they have an incentive. They want your place. It’s lovely not to have to ask for it at the end. For both parties.

Again, am not sure as I write whether this is ok under current shifting sands deposit legislation and nor whether, for that matter, OpenRent would object under its own agreed terms between landlord and themselves.

OpenRent… would you?
Two items for feedback, please.

I rarely accept dogs or house cats. There’s no profit in taking a damage deposit. Actually the larger the deposit, the evidently greater risk for greater loss. And argument. In the case of house cat/s, they and their permanently in-situ cat litter trays can stink while urine and faeces gets walked through the house very easily… think , not least, of the next tenants with potentially a crawling toddler…
Dog owners, particularly -and always ‘supported’ by their subjective, defensive owners- are a bl**dy nuisance in my experience. Arguing about what constitutes ‘fair wear and tear’ when you accepted a dog is just the start of it.

If you are up for all the potential hassle, visit them at their current property to assess their current standards? *

And for those that object to paying either a pet damage deposit or the up-front, professional clean fee (chargeable at cost only, as I have already intimated…?)

For me, they have failed basic vetting checks.

Pun intended.

  • That’s how I know all about the worse of house cats… I could hardly breathe!

Peter B
Member NLA

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You are breaking hearts with your cruel no pets allowed
Some of us couidnt have children so we have a cat or 2 as they help fill the hole
We can’t find anywhere anymore to live in this country because you people have no hearts
Maybe think about genuine caring people who love their animals and who have good well behaved animals before you destroy lives cause that’s what’s happening to us
If I was a landlord I wouid care about people and never try to separate anyone from their beloved pet.
England used to be a lot different it used to be a pet loving country but the country I was born in is not anymore something cruel and dead runs it now and greed and cold hearted people like you
I hope one day you are in our situation
Karma

easy for you to say if you dont have a property that is rented out. SOME animals make a place smell. cats can scratch up carpets, unwashed dogs can dirty the walls . Shall we leave this for the next tenant?I do not believe you cannot find anywhere to live in this country

Ilana, you bleeding hearts make me laugh, try being a landlord and cleaning up after a tenant with pets and see how you would react in that situation, loosing £1,000’s of pounds in remedial costs, extended vacancies, etc. Many landlords have mortgages to service, and how do you suggest they do that when they are loosing the quivalent of perhaps 6 month’s rent to put right a pet owners damage.

It’s very simple Ilana, if you can answer the following questions correctly, you can have my property to rent.

  1. Are you prepared to lodge a serious deposit to cover the clean up / fumigation following your tenancy?

  2. Are you prepared to carry out all necessary maintenance work within the property yourself, as I am allergic to cats and would not be able to enter the property to conduct such maintenance?

  3. Are you prepared to guarantee that any disturbance to adjacent neighbours will be addressed by you, and you will compensate the landlord for loss of rent if they move out as a result of such disturbance?

  4. Are you prepared to accept responsibility for the neighbours children’s health when they contract serious diseases from your cats faeces that they crawl around in within their own gardens?

If not buy your own home and live with your own mess, maintenance and irate neighbours. Take responsibility for your own circumstances, we landlords are not a charity.

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After seeing your post where you’re asking suggestions on how to scam a dead tenant, i’d say: keep your property.
Not only a good chunk of your questions fall under " fair and tear" clause, but if what you are saying was true, the half of the population would be excincted.

  1. You can’t take by law more than 5 weeks worth deposit, any higher would be fraud
  2. If the tenancy agreement allows pets, by law, it already contains clauses that any landlord can enforce. If the tenancy agreement does not allow pets, goes without saying, holding a pet is a breach and any landlord can legally evict the tenant.
    Truth is that most landlords espect to run the business without ANY investment, like buildings stand by magic, don’t consume and are immune to usage. So drug addicts and dealers, all fine ( my landlord was too lazy to evict the bastards because of the court thing, so he made me go through 1 year and half of violent episodes, fumes of drugs in the hallway coming into my flat, fights day and night)… but eih…no pets, too much damage. Get your ass in gear, you’re self employed. If you don’t want to put up with the effort, then apply for another job, under a boss. No stress at all.