A recent commenter in our Q&A box asked "do most landlords allow pets". Unfortunately, the short answer to that is no, they don't. "No pets" is almost a standard clause in AST agreements, though in truth, it shouldn't be.
"No pets" is likely to fall foul of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, which prohibits businesses using "unfair" terms in contracts with consumers. Although "no Great Danes in a 6th floor bedsit" is probably an entirely reasonable term, "no goldfish in average sized goldfish bowls" is probably unfair, and unenforcable.
What the AST agreement should say is "no pets without the landlord's written permission (permission will not be withheld unreasonably)" - putting the onus on the tenant to get permission for the pet they wish to bring into the house.
I'd love to see landlords being more flexible on pets, because most of the time, their prohibition isn't necessary. A reasonable tenant with a cat or dog isn't going to trash a property; an unreasonable tenant will trash the property whether or not they've got a pet.
And allowing pets can help let your property more quickly, to better tenants. Landlords who do allow pets can benefit from higher rents, as well as more stable tenants: pet owners know it's hard to find a landlord who'll allow pets, so we're unlikely to move on for the sake of it. Plus, of course, if you have to get the cat into a box first, it's more difficult to do a runner leaving your rent and bills unpaid.
If you're a tenant who's looking for a pet-friendly rental, Upad lists properties to let which allow pets. And if you're a landlord who's happy to rent to pet owners, make sure you list that in your property ad, and we'll match you with a great tenant.
And if you have a question of your own on any aspect of renting, please just ask.