A quick guide to securing a pet friendly accommodation in Scotland
A quick search on Zoopla for pet friendly 2 bedroom flats and houses in Edinburgh, carried out on 15th July 2021, generates only 35 hits. While 49% of the British population own a pet, only 7-10% of advertised properties explicitly allow pets. Why is it so difficult to find a pet friendly property in Edinburgh, and Scotland in general? There are a few valid ones and one silly one. So why don’t most landlords accept pets?
What is wrong with pets in rental properties?
Some of the valid reasons landlords are hesitant about pets are:
- Potential damage. Dogs can scratch wood floors, cats sometimes scratch door frames. If you multiply muddy paws times the number of rainy days in Edinburgh, just how long is it before the dirt gets ingrained into carpet fibers? Laminate floors are very durable, but what happens to the traditional pine (softwood) floorboards when dogs get too excited, sliding around on them? Sanding and varnishing a double bedroom floor will cost upwards of £500.
- Wear & Tear. Even when there is no pet damage, a dog running around a house 100 times a day will eventually cause carpets to wear faster.
- Allergies. Some landlords are allergic to cats or dogs, or may be thinking about potential allergic tenants.
- Complaints. Some dogs, if left alone, can bark all day. Outside cats sometimes toilet in neighbours’ gardens.
- Smell. Dog and cat lovers may not agree, but animals tend to have a strong smell that easily permeates carpets and upholstered furniture. Some landlords are afraid of being left with a hefty carpet and upholstery cleaning invoice or being unable to let their property to tenants without pets… who may be put off by a strong animal smell.
And a silly reason…
- Property management software settings. The default setting of a property advert in property management software is ‘Pets not accepted’. ‘Pets accepted’ or ‘Pets considered’ settings require a manual change.
How to change the landlord’s mind regarding the pets?
If you have a dog, cat or another pet and look for a property in Edinburgh, what should you do? And what can you offer a hesitant landlord to secure the property you want?
- Call the agent first to make sure that the property is not suitable for pets. A significant share of ‘no pets accepted’ properties end up in that category as this is the default setting and changing it requires manual override. Ask the agent if they have other pet friendly properties that suit your needs.
- Insurance. In case of furnished flats, offer additional contents insurance which covers pet damage.
- Higher deposit. Landlords who accept pets often require a higher deposit, usually £250 per pet, to cover potential pet damage. Such a pet deposit is added to the main deposit and registered with an approved Scottish deposit agency.
- Pet contract. Offer to sign a pet contract – you will take full responsibility for any damage in the property (garden included) caused by your pet.
- Carpet and furniture. Sometimes the only way to get rid of the animal smell is to professionally wash carpets and any upholstered furniture at home. Offer to do it yourself or, even better, arrange a professional carpet/upholstery cleaning and pay for it when you move out.
- Explain your circumstances. Some landlords – especially animal lovers themselves – may simply worry about the well-being of your pets. Explain who will be taking care of the pet when you are away (unless you work from home). Is your cat solely indoor or outdoor? How old is your dog? Are you going to employ a dog walker? Do you have a friend or a relative who can take care of the dog while you are away? If you have rented a pet friendly flat before, present your rental references. One landlord telling another landlord that your dog or a cat did not cause any damage may do the trick.
While renting a pet friendly property may be difficult, it is definitely doable. Be persistent, explain your circumstances and… and remind your potential agent or landlord that tenancies with pets last longer.