One in 10 tenants is ‘hiding a pet’ from their landlord

One in 10 tenants is ‘hiding a pet’ from their landlord

0:01 AM, 24th March 2023, About A year ago 11

Text Size

One in 10 renters say they are currently living with a furry friend in their rented home despite the landlord banning pets, a survey reveals.

Researchers questioned 1,000 adults who either rent or have rented a home while owning a pet at the same time.

The findings show that 25% of tenants say they’d had a pet previously which left them feeling anxious (52%), worried (45%) and guilty (28%).

The research was carried out by Mars Petcare which highlights that one in 10 tenants have been caught by a landlord – mainly down to a surprise visit (48%), or seeing the landlord when they were out, for example, walking their dog (21%).

Anonymous tip-offs led to 20% of those who have been caught and 22% of the renters who had been found out by their landlord being evicted.

Most popular animals owned by tenants

The most popular animals owned by tenants include dogs (59%), cats (56%) and rabbits (8%).

The research was commissioned to mark the launch of a digital guide called, ‘The Petiquette Guide to Rentals and Pet Ownership’, in partnership with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

The guide is aimed at helping renters and landlords to ‘navigate pet tenancy’.

Mars Petcare’s general manager, Paolo Rigamonti, said: “Responsible pet owners shouldn’t be denied the right to experience the joy and benefits of pet ownership just because they rent, but the current legislation and lack of clarity unfairly impacts renters.

“We also know just how severe the stress of living with uncertainty is for pet owning tenants and – with tenancy restrictions directly contributing to pet abandonment – it’s clear change needs to happen.”

Tenants haven’t asked their landlord for permission to keep a pet

Researchers found 37% of tenants haven’t asked their landlord for permission to keep a pet – mainly because they worry about being refused (24%) and being evicted (14%).

And 24% say they refuse to ask their landlord and will keep their pet regardless.

The lengths that tenants have gone to in a bid to keep their animals hidden include having someone on emergency standby to pet-sit (45%) and using room spray to conceal giveaway smells (37%).

Nearly a quarter (24%) of renters have lied to their landlord and said the animal isn’t theirs, but a friend’s, while 19% have covered their pet’s cage or bed with a sheet.

Why a landlord doesn’t allow pets in their rented property

The research also found that a third (34%) understand why a landlord doesn’t allow pets in their rented property – but they don’t agree with it.

And 69% of those surveyed say they support proposals in the Renters’ Reform Bill which will make it easier for tenants with a pet to find a home.

Almost nine in 10 (87%) agreed there are benefits to living with a pet, including combating loneliness (84%), reducing stress (75%) and encouraging exercise (63%).

But for 34%, having an animal has caused a problem for them when trying to find somewhere to live.

‘Some landlords have understandable concerns’

Mr Rigamonti said: “We know some landlords have understandable concerns, but many recognise the numerous benefits of renting to tenants with pets.”

Landlord, broadcaster and cat owner Zara McDermott (pictured) is working on the project, and she said: “As a cat parent to Cedric and Albus, I know first-hand just how much joy pets can bring to life every day.

“The thought of loving pet owners having to choose between remaining in their home and keeping their pet is just awful, which is why I’m so pleased to be working with Mars Petcare and Battersea – helping pet owners get clued up.”

Share This Article


Mick Roberts

14:14 PM, 24th March 2023, About A year ago

I'd be grateful if 1 in 10 tenants told me the truth about having a dog.
I have a video that shows how I get lied to. Tenant had 12 dogs at same time at one point.

Luke P

14:22 PM, 24th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 24/03/2023 - 14:14
The seemingly inevitable future Labour government have, in their Renter's Charter (amongst other nonsense such as allowing tenants to make 'reasonable alterations to a property' and leaving landlords to shoulder all redecoration costs at the end of a tenancy to bring a property back up to standard), the mandatory 'permission' to keep pets...

Freda Blogs

14:24 PM, 24th March 2023, About A year ago

I don't think she gets it and she thinks its hilarious. How do you stay sane Mick?

Mick Roberts

14:36 PM, 24th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 24/03/2023 - 14:22
Wow u r joking. I read that they making it easier for Landlords to take pets. Aah right so that's easier then is it. For who? The person that's just bought a house for 140k & spending 40k on it.
Wowzers again Luke, so they leaving it for us to bring the property back up to standard. Less houses for pets then. Remember when it used to work when they used to allow Landlords to charge higher deposits. Govt & Councils screw everything up.

I'm refurbishing this , 82 year old tenant passed away 8 weeks ago, spending 22k on it little bungalow, will be like showhome. I ain't taking any pets. Please bring the prosecution on.

Mick Roberts

14:37 PM, 24th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 24/03/2023 - 14:24Ha ha u got to laugh or cry. I choose to laugh. She's ok to be fair. I think well she been with me 9 years, house gone up in value from 80k to 140k, had 63k rent in, that's 123k I'm up, plus invested the rent. So I can take a lie or two. Eh & she's paying £200 pm below market rent. They walking all over me aren't they.


16:47 PM, 24th March 2023, About A year ago

I've had tenants running a puppy farm in a 1st floor flat with no garden. ALL the carpets had to be ripped up and floorboards repeatedly bleached - and it still absolutely stank.

Someone tell me how to log smell - or lack of it - on an inverntory

I've had a tenant with no mould suddenlty report lots of mould. He'd bought a large tropical fish tank with no lid and was heating water to god knows what temperature 24/7.

I've had people who go out to work all day want to keep a dog saying 'it will sleep all day'

We're not allowed to increase the deposit so as usual responsible tenent's rent will go up to pay for the others. Poor tenants!

Hamish McBloggs

10:58 AM, 25th March 2023, About A year ago

Flat to let in block new build flats :

LL : No pets
Tenant : OK, No pets
LL : Great. Let's do the paperwork.
Tenant : Fantastic
LL : Welcome and call me if there's anything you need.

Time passes

Ring ring ring (phone) at some ungodly hour
Tenant : The thingy has broken
LL : They're unbreakable! I'll come and have a look

Visiting day ...

LL : How did that happen?
Tenant : Don't know
LL : Mmmmm. But they're made from Unobtainium .... and cannot be reached - even with tower cranes ...


LL : What's that?
Tenant : It's a snake
LL : That's a pet
Tenant : No it's not. It's a snake
LL : It's a pet
Tenant : prove it
LL : What sort of snake?
Tenant : It's very friendly
LL : I don't care. Is it venomous?
Tenant : I don't think so
Tenant : no it isn't.
LL : Get it out NOW!. Formally I give you 4 weeks to re-home it. But I want it gone NOW! Or you go - breach of contract.
Tenant : It's not a pet and I won't go. You can't do this.
LL : Read your contract. Read the rules of this block we both must adhere to.
Tenant : I don't have them anymore
LL : ok, I will email them to you for you to keep. They have your signature on them.
Tenant : It's so unfair. I won't.
LL : So be it.. I'll begin the process now. You or the pet. In the meantime I will provide you with independent resources you can use to ensure fairness; resources such as Citizens Advice.

A couple of emails later (one way, LL to tenant) ... ring ring ring (phone)

Tenant : it has gone
Tenant : But we need to move out. NOW.
LL : 4 weeks written please. Give your letter today's date. In the meantime I will come round and check it has gone.
Tenant : Oww, but life, can't you, please, jobs, moan whinge, life is terrible, it's alright for you, you don't understand, too busy for you to come round, work, car, poorly, the weather ...

Tenant moves out about 3 weeks later. LL lets them go early (for many reasons).

LL cleans, repaints, mends, re-advertises.

LL spends wasted hours wresting back control of the gas, elec, etc. Finding CT arrears and convincing the LA the tenant has effed off with no forwarding address, supplying them with a copy of the tenancy agreement to show I'm not responsible for it and a copy of my passport and own CT bill because they simply don't believe I'm who I say I am ... (I call these my wasted years)

Now, as we all know, new build walls in flats are high quality, robust stuff and as unbelievable as it may seem, a radiator was loose and needed attention.

In the gap where the pipes go into the wall was ...

A knotted crisp packet?

Perhaps a child's toy?

No, a stiff, dried out, quite dead, curled up next to the warm pipes .... snake.

So, the tenant's snake had escaped and that is why they left?

No forwarding address.

I showed it to Mrs Hamish (in a joking way). Mrs Hamish hates snakes. It took a year before she started talking to me again.

Your next question ... what sort of snake?

Took it to the local Snakes 'r' Us Emporium who Identified it as a corn snake. Not venomous apparently. Said Snake (and other cold blooded creatures) Emporium also sell some fairly nasty venomous snakes. They said they won't sell venomous snakes to anyone who doesn't have experience and generally propose corn snakes as the first step.

One can be charged with an out of control dog. But an errant tenant? According the Lease, I am responsible for my tenant's behaviour.

If it proved to be my tenant, do I become responsible for this?

Or this?

Snakes will get anywhere in a building; especially new build flats.

Tenants are not obliged to provide forwarding details.

It could have much worse. I could have seen this posted on the communal door ...

Snake owners and their visitors have met their fate in their sleep.

But despite the tenant no having dependents, (a key requirement of a Darwin Award), there was no chance of gaining this accolade because the tenant's snake wasn't a big enough constrictor.


Hamish the Zoo Keeper

ps. I failed at every point to ask whether there was more than one.

pps. Ironic sequel : Corn snake keeping tenant constricted by cross dressing owner/occupier neighbour's, (whose flat is never inspected), feather boa.

Hamish McBloggs

13:57 PM, 25th March 2023, About A year ago

Did I mention another tenant ...

LL : You asked me to come round and check something ... What's that?
Tenant : It's a puppy
LL : It's a pet
Tenant : It's a puppy
LL : No pets
Tenant : It's only a small one

Both LL and Tenant look at the puppy (which is not a pet apparently) at the same time as it avails itself of the well known germ killing, odour eating and absorbent properties of oak kitchen flooring.

LL : Your pet has just p***d on the floor
Tenant : no it didn't, well not much
LL : and you have a baby that has just started crawling. In my opinion Incompatible unless you are strong, practiced owners who know what they are doing ... there will be a pecking order and a dog like this grows far more quickly than the baby. The dog will also eat many cupboards and pieces of furniture as its second teeth arrive...but you would know all this
Tenant : It's just a little puppy
LL : Have you researched this breed? NO PETS
Tenant : Boyfriend dear, tell him
Mr Tenant : She can have a puppy if she wants one
Tenants : We have a right
LL : Got your contract to hand?
Tenants : It doesn't matter we've got it now
LL : I will give you notice ... here's what will happen
Tenants : you can't do this
LL : You or the pet
Tenant : But you've got a dog
LL : I've got a car but they won't let me drive for McClaren. You or the pet, read your contract
Tenants : We have rights.
LL : I'll start the process then
Tenant : *********** ** ****** *** **** and what's more *** ** ***** *** ********** and you never fix things. That's been broken for ages and it's dangerous ... we can't live like this it's not safe. That could have fallen onto someone...
LL : You called me here, at your convenience, for something unrelated and benign which I will fix despite it not being my responsibility. As you know, I regularly inspect and nothing was visibly wrong last time. You had no problems to tell me about last time I was here. What you are pointing out now is NOT the reason I am here.

... This additional problem, a down pipe had become blocked. Leaves presumably despite those sieve like things over the hole at the top and regular maintenance. It had rained, filled with water and then frozen solid. The weight had detached it from the gutter at the top and it was heavy and dangerous; pivoting about a bracket halfway up.

... with everyone out of the way I pulled it down there and then. It was fixed the following week.

LL : When did you know this? Why didn't you tell me about this the second it you were aware? Have you read your contract? You have an obligation to tell me these things for all our sakes.
Tenant : We can't remember to tell you everything, you should have fixed it. We're going to report you. It nearly killed my mum last week.
LL : LAST WEEK !!! You've only told me - literally - just now. How was I supposed to know? Telepathy? or should I move in?
LL : I will fix both problems as soon as can be sensibly achieved.
LL : BUT IT IS STILL YOU OR THE DOG and I will chase you for the rent arrears.
Tenants : You didn't protect our deposit. You can be fined.
LL : Do you want the paperwork ... again?

Days later a request for a reference arrived without warning. The tenant had got themselves a shared ownership property subject to various checks. (probably the right thing for them in my opinion).

Its none of my business but if a reference is expected of me, it would have been nice to ask/inform. I dislike presumption. Perhaps I'm old fashioned.

I duely completed the reference honestly, stating there were arrears.

Then I did a bit of background and informed them ...

LL : You know there are conditions attached to this potential new place.
Tenant : We know. We can't have a pet in the new place so we got rid of it

Clearly one level of respect for a private LL and another more meaningful level of respect for those seen as more important.

Days later the tenant hand delivers the arrears in cash.

I gave them a receipt for the cash. They implied my vulnerability if the cash went undeclared. I pointed out that I had emailed them a signed receipt and they could inform HMRC if they so wished.

I'm guessing I must have issued further information as referee updating the rent statement because about a month later I received a hand delivered letter stating that they were moving out to a new shared property and gave me the date of departure ... exactly 4 weeks from the date of the letter.

Quotes from the letter : 'We have really enjoyed our time', 'made us feel welcome', 'sad to be leaving' ...

The letter also asked for their deposit to be released from the DPS. Bless them.

I wished them luck.

A short while after a frictional departure (and subject of another story), I was invited to accept Mr.Tenant as a connection on LinkedIn.

I declined.


Hamish McBloggs

16:37 PM, 25th March 2023, About A year ago

Or perhaps this one ...

Photos from the checkout ... sadly this was the occasion I chose to take a deposit, (no pun intended as you will see), in installments. No installments arrived. Then no rent. Then court ...

I made the flags out of small garden canes and yellow card and stuck one in every turd.

50 canes ... I ran out.

There are dozens hidden in the bushes and there are many more photos; but you get the drift.

I presented these and many other pictures to the judge as part of evidence for costs. As the ex-tenant did not turn up he wasn't interested. He simply started writing out the judgement and refused to allow my flags as expenses. This was despite the simple argument that cleaning took time and expense and the only way the magnitude of the task could be demonstrated was - with flags.

He also refused to allow interest at the rate allowed by the agreement. He also rounded every calculation down. This is clearly a challenge-able practice for those with deeper pockets. We just have to suck it up.

(BTW, they are my feet. I loved those walking boots)

When asked to come and clear it up ... several times ... I received various replies including the following ...

- There's no dog dirt in the garden, I cleared it up before I left.

- The garden was a mess when I moved in and I have improved it.

- My son cleared it up when I was away on business so it's impossible.

- Your garden is too small

- Stop moaning

- It's dark

- My dog is old

- You're lying

- This is harassment

- If you don't stop emailing me I will report you

- You should get a proper checkout company to do a proper job. If you employ amateurs you expect rubbish.

- Your carpet was cheap.

Yup, Mrs H and I both were confused by the last one.

I have more examples of tenants that should be forced, by law, upon MP's with landlording aspirations. Who would then be forced to keep them until all issues whether they be mental health, job losses, benefits, arrears, misfortune etc be resolved. At which point they be handed back to a private landlord.

But it's time for tea.

I also observe that sun and yardarm have converged once more. So to hell and damnation with the responsible engineering calculations (that is another part of my portfolio career) ...

... and out with the Southern Comfort (special offer, Tesco. Other supermarkets and anaesthetics are available). Get 'em while its 3x clubcard points.


Mick Roberts

16:44 PM, 25th March 2023, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Hamish McBloggs at 25/03/2023 - 16:37
These Courts & Judges think they doing a justice by the tenant, but will someone please educate 'em, every time u make it awkward & unnecessarily expensive for Landlord, the Judge then makes it even more expensive & awkward for the next 1000 tenants. We all get told about these stories like yours, so we remember & we be super cautious & get every penny extra from rent going forward as we need it to cover these losses where the Court has worked against us, the law abiding person.

1 2

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now