Finding a suitable rental property for you and your family can be a difficult and stressful experience and if you own a cat or dog your options, become even more limited with so many landlords refusing to accept pets in rental properties.
Fri 24 Nov 2017
Finding a suitable rental property for you and your family can be a difficult and stressful experience and if you own a cat or dog your options, become even more limited with so many landlords refusing to accept pets in rental properties. We look at how to find a property to rent when you are a pet owner.
Fouling by dogs and cats is one of the main causes of problems with both landlords and neighbours so it’s important that your pets are toilet trained and that you always clean up after them.
If your dog has not been toilet trained, you will need to train him as soon as possible and preferably before you enter the new property.
Dogs will generally toilet in the garden (check you are allowed first) or during their daily walks. Dog owners are responsible by law for cleaning up after their dog in public and can be fined for not doing so. You should also ensure that you pick up your dog’s mess from any communal areas.
Cat fouling is not covered by any law but you should provide your cat with a litter tray indoors to discourage it from fouling in neighbours’ gardens. This can be a real issue between neighbours, so take it seriously.
If any of your pets are causing a nuisance to your neighbours through excessive noise, you will need to investigate the cause of the problem. This is most likely to happen with barking dogs. Dogs bark for many different reasons, including excitement, fear, boredom, frustration, because they are guarding the home or because they cannot cope with being left alone. If you are unable to solve the problem on your own, you should contact a veterinary surgeon, dog behaviourist or animal welfare organisation for advice. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, a local authority can serve dog owners with an abatement notice if their dog is considered a statutory nuisance by barking consistently and excessively. An abatement notice will require the ceasing or restriction of the nuisance. Failure to comply with an abatement notice can result in a fine of up to £5000.
Damage caused to properties and furnishings is one of the top reasons why landlords will not accept pets in their properties. Insurance policies, such as contents insurance, will not cover any damage caused by pets, so it’s important that you do everything you can to prevent it from happening.
Small pets such as hamsters, gerbils and rabbits can cause a lot of damage as they have sharp teeth and enjoying gnawing. If you let your small pets out of their cages to exercise, you should ensure that they are supervised at all times. This is particularly important with wires and cables as they can gnaw through them and cause damage both to the property and to themselves.
Cats claw as part of their natural behaviour so you should always provide them with a scratching post and toys to occupy them while they are indoors. This should also prevent them from clawing at the carpets and furniture.
Also make sure that your cat does not claw any communal woodwork such as door or stair posts, benches in communal gardens etc.
Dogs who are bored or left at home for long periods of time are more likely to cause damage to property and furnishings. Dogs Trust recommends that dogs are not left alone for more than 4 hours at a time. If you do need to leave your dog at home, you should ensure that you leave plenty of toys, such as food puzzle toys, to occupy them.
All pet owners are responsible for their pet’s health and wellbeing and have a ‘duty of care’ to provide them with adequate food and water, exercise, a suitable place to live and access to veterinary treatment. If you do not provide for your pet’s needs or if you abandon or neglect any animal in your care, you may be reported to the RSPCA and prosecuted.
If you are going away and you will be leaving your pet behind, you must ensure that someone will be able to care for him until you return. Usually this would mean taking your pet to a friend or family member or arranging for him to go to a kennel or cattery. In some circumstances you may be able to arrange for someone to come into your home to look after your pet.
Article by: The Pet Owners Association – reproduced with the kind permission of Dogs Trust from their Lets with Pets booklet, ‘Renting With Pets’
Dogs Trust’s Lets with Pets campaign aims to help pet owners find privately rented accommodation with their pets. We have put together advice for pet owners on how to find pet-friendly accommodation as well as information for landlords and letting agents on managing properties with pets.