Letting Agents Sheffield


There is a lot of controversy about this and the law is not well understood. Here are the main points:

  • By default (i.e. if there is no tenancy agreement) tenants are entitled to have a pet
  • The ONLY reason pets are not allowed in most cases is because there is a tenancy agreement clause prohibiting pets
  • This will only be enforceable however it if complies with the Unfair Terms rules (now part of the Consumer Rights Act 2015)
  • This will require the clause to provide for the tenant to request permission to keep a pet which the landlord should not unreasonably refuse
  • If this wording is omitted, the clause will be unenforceable
  • If the tenant requests permission under the clause, if the landlord refuses permission he must give their reason and the reason given must be a reasonable one

If you decide to allow a pet, your tenancy agreement should then be amended to include clauses to protect your position regarding the pet – for example clauses saying that it needs to be looked after properly, treated for fleas, not left alone too long etc.

Note by the way that save in exceptional circumstances, you should always permit assistance dogs (e.g for the blind). However, this does not normally extend to ’emotional support animals’ – whether you should permit these will depend on the circumstances.


Tenants sometimes have an extreme reaction to a sighting of a mouse or insect and will sometimes threaten to move out (at your expense) until you have fumigated the entire property. However this is not really justified (save perhaps in extreme cases).

When there is a pest issue the first thing to do is work out who is responsible…

  • If the pests were in the property when the tenants moved in (e.g bedbugs) then it is the landlords responsibility (under the fitness for habitation rules) to sort it out
  • If it is the landlord who is at fault (e.g if rats are entering via a hole in the wall) then, again, it is down to the landlord to deal with it
  • However if the pests have been attracted to the property due to the tenants behaviour – e.g leaving food lying around and not secured properly in bins, then it will be down to the tenants.

Whoever is responsible, it may be best for the landlord to deal with the problem, but the cost will be payable by the tenants if the fault is theirs.

Proposals for reform

There are proposals to enhance tenants rights to keep a pet under the Renters Reform Bill – but as you can see from the above, in reality the rules will not differ much from the current law.

The only real new item of interest was permitting landlords to require a tenant to take out insurance as a condition of granting permission to have a pet.

Landlord Advice

  • Pets – try to grant permission if this is reasonable but check very carefully the proposed pet and limit your permission to that particular pet only
  • If you allow pets, ensure that your tenancy agreement is amended appropriately
  • To avoid an issue with pests make sure that the property is thoroughly checked between tenancies. Remember that if (e.g) bed bugs were introduced by the former tenants, this will not help you if your new tenants complain about them
  • When doing your regular inspections check that tenants are dealing with rubbish properly so that pests will not be attracted by unwanted food lying around.


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