Renting with pets: how to find a rental property that allows cats and dogs

If you have, or want, pets it can be hard to find a property to rent. Here's somer advice from Cats Protection on how to find a pet-friendly rental

How to find a pet-friendly rental
Published: March 16, 2022 at 2:51 pm
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Cats and dogs make wonderful companions, but for many people who rent, owning a pet is a distant dream. Sifting through a market that frequently operates blanket ‘no pet’ policies, can make renting with a pet can feel truly impossible.

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But it’s not all doom and gloom! It is possible to rent with a pet. Here, Cats Protection offers its best advice for reaching a purrrfect agreement with your landlord or letting agent.

How to find a rental property that allows pets

Start your search for a pet-friendly landlord early

Don’t leave things until the last minute, as it can take a long time to find somewhere to live with your furry friend. Give yourself plenty of time to find a rental that allows cats or dogs, offers a suitable environment for a pet - and of course, is somewhere you would like to live yourself! You may need to expand your search area to increase your chances of finding a new home for you and your pet.

Create a 'Pet CV'

If you find somewhere you’d like to rent that isn’t pet-friendly, try communicating with the landlord or letting agent about the nature and behaviour of your pet. You can create a ‘Pet CV’ to show you are a responsible owner and that your pet is not going to cause a problem. For instance, you could include details about your cat’s personality, how they like to spend their time, if they are litter tray trained and how they interact with other people and other pets. You can download Cats Protection’s Pet CV template here.

Request a copy of your cat’s vet records

Showing vet records is a great way to demonstrate to a landlord or letting agent that your pet is microchipped, neutered, vaccinated, and protected against fleas and other parasites. You can show this to your prospective landlord alongside your Pet CV.

Get a pet reference

If you can get a pet reference from a previous landlord, this will help to show that your pet has not caused any damage in the past. Hand this over with your vet records and Pet CV, so your landlord or agent can see for themselves that you are a responsible pet owner.

Ask your landlord directly

Start a conversation! If you don’t ask, you’ll never get. Maybe you have a cat already, but your new tenancy doesn’t allow pets, or perhaps you don’t have a cat yet but would like one, either way, don’t be afraid to talk to your landlord or letting agent. Often, standard templates are used for tenancy agreements, but you may find they are willing to be flexible if you ask.

If you do get met with a firm no, don’t try to sneak a cat or dog into your property. You could lose your tenancy and then find yourself in the stressful situation of having to find a new home or even having to give your pet up to a rehoming charity.

Landed a rental? What happens next?

Once you have found a place for you and your pet to rent, stick to the tenancy conditions. Obtain written consent from the property owner or agent to keep a pet and comply with any relevant conditions. A landlord may limit the number of pets allowed, normally set at a maximum of two.

Finally, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your new home life with your pet! Invest in plenty of play time with your pet to decrease the risk of any damage to furniture and carpets. If you have a cat you can also set up a scratching post near to where your cat sleeps, so they can safely enjoy their morning stretches without clawing any furniture. Keeping your cat mentally and physically stimulated will also ensure you have a happier, healthier pet. Take a look at Cats Protection’s care guide for more advice on looking after your cat.

What to do if you can't found a pet-friendly rental

Sadly, some people are unable to find a pet-friendly landlord, which can be a heart-breaking experience. If this does happen, try asking friends and family if they are able to look after your cat. This may give you time to find a more suitable home, or your landlord may be more inclined to allow cats once you’ve been a tenant for a period of time.

If you have to rehome your pet and are struggling to cope with the separation, you can get in touch with Paws to Listen – Cats Protection’s pet grief support service. You can call Paws to Listen and speak to a trained volunteer by using this number: 0800 024 94 94 or you can visit the webpage here.

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Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity - to find more tips from the charity about moving with your cat, visit Cats Protection’s Purrfect Landlords webpage.

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