Model Pet Policy At A Glance
- About The Independent Landlord Model Pet Policy
- Can a Pet Policy require professional cleaning at tenancy end?
- Template for a Model Pet Policy for UK landlords
About The Independent Landlord Model Pet Policy
I’m a pet-friendly landlord, who also happens to be a lawyer. I’ve drafted a Pet Policy for my own tenants that builds on the model pet policy from Lets with Pets.
I’ve decided to share my Pet Policy in order to help UK landlords strike the right balance between the needs of renters to have a pet and the needs of the landlord not to have their rented properties damaged by pets. It also gives guidance on how renters should look after their pets, and not cause a nuisance to neighbours.
You can see the version I use for my own tenants here: Suzanne Smith Properties Pet Policy. I’ve made my own version slightly less legalistic by using “I” and “you” because I self-manage my properties.
The Model Pet Policy is for use before the Renters Reform Bill comes into effect. I will publish a new Pet Policy once the detail of the Renters Reform Bill and any transition arrangements for implementation are clear.
This Pet Policy is right for my small portfolio, but you may need to adapt it for your own circumstances.
Can a Pet Policy require professional cleaning at tenancy end?
No, landlords can’t include a term in the Tenancy Agreement or a Pet Policy that requires tenants to have the property / carpets cleaned professionally at the end of the tenancy. This is because requiring tenants to use a cleaning service would infringe the Tenant Fees Act 2019. The Act prevents landlords from requiring tenants to meet any conditions that could only be met by paying a fee for a third-party service.
Instead, I refer in section 4 to cleaning to a “professional standard”, which is permitted. (See page 21 of the Guidance for Landlords on the Tenant Fees Act 2019 which states: ‘You may request that a property is cleaned to a professional standard”.)
In other words, it’s fine for renters to clean it themselves, and not use a cleaning company, so long as it’s cleaned to a professional standard. After all, that’s what landlords should focus on: is the property free of dog / cat hair and odours? The means the renters use to get it clean is not really relevant.
Template for a Model Pet Policy for UK landlords
This Pet Policy outlines the conditions under which tenants may keep pets in the property at [address] in order to protect the condition of the property and the welfare of any pets.
The landlord reserves the right to make reasonable changes to this Pet Policy as they see fit from time to time. The Pet Policy will also be revised before implementation of the Renters Reform Bill.
By keeping a pet at the property, the tenant accepts the terms and conditions in this Pet Policy.
1. How to ask for consent to keep a pet
Tenants must obtain prior written consent from the landlord before keeping a pet at the property. Tenants should do this in writing (for instance by email), providing details of the pet and a photo, together with explaining how they intend to look after the pet while they’re working if relevant.
If new tenants wish to have a pet, they must obtain consent from the landlord before signing the tenancy agreement. As well as providing the above information, they may have to provide a reference for their pets from their former landlord if requested by the landlord.
Tenants who wish to obtain an additional pet after moving into the property must apply for permission in writing to the landlord, in advance, following the same process.
The landlord reserves the right to refuse a request for an additional or a new pet, even if the original pet dies or is no longer at the property. If a tenant obtains an additional or a new pet without prior permission, this may be treated as a breach of the tenancy agreement.
Tenants may not keep any animal listed in the schedule of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 at the property. Furthermore, tenants may not keep any dog listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 at the property.
2. Looking after pets during the tenancy
Pet welfare is very important. Tenants are responsible for their pets in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act. If the landlord believes that a pet kept in the property has been neglected or abandoned, they will report it to an appropriate animal welfare organisation. This will also be treated as a breach of the tenancy agreement, which can lead to eviction.
Tenants must not leave their pets in the property when they are away unless clear and appropriate arrangements have been made for their care.
Dogs should not be left alone in the property for more than 5 hours at a time. Tenants must ensure that their dogs will not cause damage to the property if they are left unsupervised.
Any pets kept at the property must be vaccinated and regularly treated for fleas and worms (if appropriate). Tenants are responsible for keeping all areas of the property clean and free from parasites, such as fleas.
Tenants must ensure their pets do not cause a nuisance to neighbours. This includes excessive noise such as barking and whining. Dogs must be kept under control and on a lead in any public places, communal areas and walkways. If a pet does cause a nuisance to neighbours, the landlord will consider this to be a breach of the tenancy agreement.
Tenants may not breed animals or offer for sale any animal in the property.
3. Looking after the property during the tenancy
Pets must not be allowed to foul inside the property, except for caged pets (eg hamsters) and pets (such as cats) which are trained to use a litter tray. Pet faeces must be removed immediately from the garden or outside areas and disposed of safely and hygienically.
If a pet causes damage to the property during the tenancy, the tenant agrees to inform the [landlord/letting agent] as soon as possible. The tenant agrees to put right any damage at their expense within a reasonable time of the [landlord/letting] asking the tenant to do it.
4. At the end of the tenancy
At the end of the tenancy, tenants with pets agree to take particular care to ensure pet hairs and pet odours are removed from the carpets by thorough carpet cleaning. They also agree to carry out a deep clean of the property to a professional standard.
When legislation changes to allow landlords to request that tenants take out pet insurance, the tenants shall do this as soon as reasonably practical when requested by the landlord, and provide the same with a copy of the insurance policy.