Debate with Landlady – Right to have a pet

Debate with Landlady – Right to have a pet

9:25 AM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago 54

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My partner and I moved into a privately rented flat 2 months ago. We really get on with our landlady and are good tenants. The property is always spotless, bills are always paid on time and we really do look after our home. Debate with Landlady – Right to have a pet

When we moved, we were asked by the letting agent if we had a pet. (At the time) the answer was a no. They confirmed that their ‘standard’ clause was ‘no pets’, however there is a clause that states we could have a pet with the landlord’s written consent (and this can be broken at any time).

I called the letting agent as my partner and I have decided that we would really like a kitten. We have both had experience in owning a pet and my other half is at home everyday (he works a couple mins away from our flat).

I e-mailed our landlady to ask if it would be possible to have a kitten. Initially, she said no due to the above standard clause. I then pointed out that in black and white on the tenancy agreement, (directly underneath the ‘no pets’ clause, ironically), it states that if the landlord gave written consent, we could keep an animal.
She then responded by saying she will speak to the Management company as this is a separate contract and will come back to me 🙁

So I’m a bit annoyed, and very upset. This is HER contract and we signed the agreement which stated that we could have an animal with written consent.

Landlords/Tenants, I would really appreciate your advice as to where we stand!

Extra bit of info – She is coming over early next week to do an inspection, which we are not worried about in the slightest and we have agreed that we will advise her if the answer is a ‘no’, we will be moving as this would have affected our initial decision.


Lala Roto

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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

9:45 AM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Hi Lala

I can totally sympathise with you, especially if you feel you have been mislead. As most member know here, I am a great lover of pets. I have a cat and two of the biggest dogs that most people have seen and yet my own home is immaculate. My wife also announced that she wants two kittens of a friend yesterday (GULP!).

I have been a landlord for over 25 years and I have similar conditions in my tenancy agreements to the ones your landlord has in yours. Every landlords has three basic fears:-

1) Will tenants pay their rent on time
2) Will tenants respect their property
3) Will tenants respect their neighbours

The reason that I have the consent clause is that I want to feel certain that if a tenant has a pet the above will still apply. If in doubt I decline but wherever possible I reach a compromise, e.g. an extra months deposit and that the tenant will purchase and provide me with a copy of their Tenants insurance policy.

As you can imagine, if my tenants who are North Sea helicopter pilots, renting my three bed riverside fully furnished penthouse, were to decide they wanted a couple of Rottwiellers I would be highly likely to withhold consent on the basis that the dogs would be left alone for sustained periods and would be likely to damage my property and upset the neighbours when the dogs started barking. On the flipside, I would never withhold consent for any tenant having a goldfish! My point is that it is all relative.

The very fact that your landlord is arranging an inspection before making a decision is a very positive sign. Other than damage your landlord is likely to be concerned about future tenants possibly having allergies to cats. If this is the case your landlord will want to know that the property is professionally deep cleaned when you do eventually leave. A simple agreement and a non-refundable "cleaning fee" of a few hundred pounds can often be the answer to this problem.

The bottom line is that your landlord is quite within his/her rights to refuse consent for you to have a kitten in the property. Therefore, it is up to you to convince your landlord that any risks of agreeing will be fully mitigated. If your landlord likes you then he/she is far more likely to be reasonable so it almost goes without saying that confrontation should be avoided at all costs.

If you do end up having to move I suggest you take a look at a website called


Lala Roto

9:49 AM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "08/10/2014 - 09:45":

Thank you for your response Mark!

I initially thought the same - "YES, we can show her how much we look after the property when she comes over for the inspection!", however it was the point where she had to 'check with the Management Company' which made my heart sink - She may not even have the final say, even though we were led to believe she does?

Sally T

12:35 PM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

We don't allow pets in any of our properties without gardens as we don't believe this is fair on the animal, it also increases the risk of damage if an animal doesn't have a garden to exercise in.
The agent did tell you before you moved in that you would need consent from the landlord to have a pet, if you knew you would be getting a pet surely this is something you should of done before you moved in.
Don't see that this is in anyway the landlady's fault, she's choosing to pay an agent to look after her interests which is what they are doing. Maybe next time you rent somewhere you could get written permission from the landlord before you sign the tenancy.

Mark Lynham

12:50 PM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

maybe she just wants advise Lala, if you contacted her direct she may have felt awkward.. i dont see why you are annoyed and upset at all.. sorry.

Im a cat lover and owner but im well aware of the risks involved where a pet is concerned... kittens are notorious for clawing carpets...

Tessa Shepperson

12:51 PM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

This sort of clause is standard for tenancy agreements - it does not mean that the landlord HAS to give permission if asked.

There are many reasons why landlords might reasonably not want to allow a pet - the landlord may be allergic, the landlords' head lease may prohibit pets (so if the landlord says yes it would put HER in breach of her lease and at risk of forfeiture).

Also, if anything happens to you the landlord would become responsible for looking after the pet and many landlords may not want to take on this potential obligation.

At Landlord Law we have a special 'pets' tenancy agreement form which records information about the permitted pets and has extra clauses in the tenancy agreement regarding the pet.


12:51 PM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Yes I'm a bit mystified why the poster feels justified to be upset and annoyed? The lease seems to quite clearly state that you are not allowed to have a pet unless the landlord gives written consent - that does not mean that the landlord has any obligation whatsoever to give that consent. If the landlord wishes to delegate that decision making to the management company she is totally within her rights to do so.

As for suggesting that you will move out if she does not give consent because this would have affected your initial decision - I don't think that you would have grounds to break the lease on that basis. The lease that you agreed to said that you can only have pets if the landlord consents - and if the landlord choses not to consent she has not breached the agreement in anyway. This includes if she has delegated that decision to the management company.

So - in my view your position is exactly as is clearly described in the lease - you can get the kitten if the landlord says you can but you can't if she doesn't. I think it's pretty clear cut!

Sue P

12:55 PM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

It seems that the tenancy agreement says no pets unless you have the landlords written agreement. You don't have that written agreement - so at the moment you can't have a pet.
You don't say that you had verbal agreement before you moved in, so I don't really see why you are so annoyed.
As you are in a flat there may be a clause in the landlords lease preventing any pets, so even if the landlord is fine with a pet she wil not be able to grant you permission.

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:56 PM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lala Roto" at "08/10/2014 - 09:49":

The owner of the property will ALWAYS have the final say.It is their property!!!

The agent can offer an opinion but that's all.

If the property is a flat the owner of the building itself isn't necessarily your landlord. Yes your landlord may own the leasehold of the flat but the freehold is likely to be owned by somebody else. The leaseholder may well have conditions in the lease that prevents the leaseholder from allowing pets in the property.

Now here's something I suspect many readers don't know - landlords CANNOT prevent tenants from keeping rabbits or chickens - see >>

Mark Lynham

13:07 PM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Sue P raises a good point in that it may be against a head lease anyway...

Jon Dahms

13:15 PM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Don't forget also that if the place you are renting is subject to a Head-Lease and you are basically sub-tenants (your own Landlord having gained consent to let) it could simply be that Pets are forbidden in the Head-Lease. Most Blocks of Flats are sold with Leases which specify 'no pets' but they do also normally include clauses allowing for consent.

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