How do I persuade my landlord to let me have a cat?

(58 Posts)
AllPurposeNortherner Mon 18-Mar-13 23:41:26

Moved into a new house three weeks ago, as a single mum for the first time. I really want a cat to keep me company once the kids are in bed. I've had cats before, know what is involved, I work/study from home so it wouldn't be left alone and I have plenty of friends and family nearby that could catsit if I needed. I had been planning to get a cat with DH, it isn't totally out of the blue.

Today I rang the letting agent to ask, and later they texted back to say that the landlord says no pets at all in the property :-(

If I had my wits about me when I moved I could have specifically looked for a pet friendly house, but I didn't.

Is there any hope, do we think?

My backup plan is a couple of guinea pigs, but they are probably as unlikely :-(

BertieBotts Mon 18-Mar-13 23:45:11

You could offer an extra sum on top of the deposit? It might be an insurance issue though sadly. You could state that you have no plans to get a dog (as these are usually the worry) and that you're very experienced with cats and will ensure that the cat does not damage any of the property (be specific if there are curtains etc). I did get an exception added to my rental contract for my cat but I already had him when I moved in so I was upfront rather than trying to change it later.

I'm pretty sure they can't say no to caged pets, though, they can't impact on the house at all, can they?

AllPurposeNortherner Mon 18-Mar-13 23:56:27

I have my own curtains anyway that I will be putting up (or at least I have them for some of the rooms and am buying them for the other rooms) and I'll be putting the landlords curtains etc in a box safely away regardless. I have all my own furniture and rugs, and the paintwork is all badly chipped anyway (it is still nice, just has been lived in by someone who must have banged into doors a lot)

The house also stinks of next doors drugs in some rooms hmm so it isn't exactly like one well cared for cat could make it smell.

I understand, though, that they haven't met me as it is through an agent, so they might think I can't be trusted not to get 10 cats or a huge dog or something.

HarrietSchulenberg Tue 19-Mar-13 00:14:27

Tell them you have mice and you really need the cat to rid you of the pestilent rodents? Or just get a cat then hide foodbowls (and cat) when landlord comes round. Devious I know but a cat makes a house a home.

LeChatRouge Tue 19-Mar-13 00:22:32

I had this on a rental once. I just ignored them and my two cats and I lived there very happily together. But, my cats were very well behaved and would never of scratched anything or left any marks anywhere. You could risk it, they need to give you notice if they are coming round, so you could hide all evidence.

AllPurposeNortherner Tue 19-Mar-13 00:27:29

But what if they are walking down the street and see a cat in the window?

BertieBotts Tue 19-Mar-13 01:34:40

Do landlords often walk down the streets where their houses are? Mine doesn't even live anywhere near here. One of my previous landlords lived in Ireland - hence why he used an agency.

SavoyCabbage Tue 19-Mar-13 01:45:40

Tell them you will get the carpets cleaned when you leave. We said no to our tenants having a cat and it was because we thought they would smell. If they had come back to us with additional reassurances then we might have said yes.

Jaynebxl Tue 19-Mar-13 06:47:53

I lived in a place with a no pets rule, next to the owners, and when we got mice suddenly we were encouraged to get a cat! Or you could get one and if it was ever spotted you could say it is a neighbour's cat who wanders in regularly. Our neighbours on one side have two cats who are regularly seen on the inside window will of the neighbours on the other side.

AllPurposeNortherner Tue 19-Mar-13 08:00:45

A mumsnetter once posted that she had decided to post a letter by hand to her tenant and heard a dog, and so was evicting the tenant!

I know it was rented before, through the agency, so hopefully that is an indication that the landlord doesn't see it as their second home, which is often ime the reason for landlords being inflexible, so maybe there is hope...

MrsJamin Tue 19-Mar-13 09:31:29

Very risky strategy to get a cat anyway, I think offering more deposit for potential damage to the property specific to the cat would be a good compromise. I had cats that weed on the floor - I would have thought that would've been the biggest fear.

NotMostPeople Tue 19-Mar-13 10:43:35

I'm a Landlord, my tenant asked if she could have a cat and we agreed. However my DH is allergic to cats and we only agreed to this because we are absolutely sure we won't ever want to live in that house again. If we were planning to return to that house and the tenant had sneaked a cat in we would know, mostly because DH would be in A&E within an hour. We would have to remove all carpets and use proper anti allergy cleaners before we could ever live there again. Therefore I think it very very wrong to have an unknown cat. Cat allergies are very common.

specialsubject Tue 19-Mar-13 11:14:01

I allowed cats in my property because I thought they were harmless - I like cats and there is no allergy issue.

carpets wrecked by a door, badly scratched door and one carpet ruined as it was full of urine. That came out of the deposit but the other damage did not as it was only partial damage. Never again.

you may say your cat 'never scratches'. You cannot control a cat.

guinea pigs kept in cages should be fine.

curiousgeorgie Tue 19-Mar-13 11:21:41

Honestly? I'd probably just get one.

When we rented we got a puppy, but we're absolutely vigilant about cleaning and training and when we left that property we got our full deposit back.

And we lived opposite the estate agent smile

Cats are much quiter and less work than dogs. If you ever get 'caught out' just say its not yours and you're pet sitting.

This might be an unpopular view but I honestly think responsible pet ownership doesn't have to result in damage or mess. I think telling the landlord you want a pet is like writing them a blank cheque and kissing your deposit goodbye.

DejaB00 Tue 19-Mar-13 11:30:18

Get one! We have a big fat hairy ginger cat and it means we have to a do a very thorough hoover around before 3-monthly visits but that's it! We are lucky though that my DH works down the road and takes the cat into his office for the day when agency bods are coming round. You need to have a back up plan for these situations. Landlords/agencies are not allowed to turn up unannounced. We've been here 2.5 years and never found out.

Cosmosim Tue 19-Mar-13 11:31:43

If there's any damage, if the LL rents to someone who is allergic to cats after you and ends up having huge expenses and takes you to court -- be prepared to pay up. Of you're going to break your contract, then courts will not award in your favour. As long as "that's no big deal" too. Our cats are well behaved, we have 4 scratch posts and the buggers still ripped their claws into our new expensive stair runner (had no interest in the old carpet hence why we assumed they'd be well-behaved enough for us to splurge on a nice new one).

specialsubject Tue 19-Mar-13 11:42:24

what's with this attitude that 'breaking contracts is ok as long as no-one finds out'...

how disgusting.

SoupDreggon Tue 19-Mar-13 11:47:58

Funny how if the landlord were to lie about something they would be evil hmm

silverfrog Tue 19-Mar-13 11:48:21

I'm afraid that you wouldn't persuade me, as a landlord, to let you keep a cat if I had a no pets clause.

I can't believe the number ofposters saying 'just do it anyway' - disgusting attitude. the no pets clause is not there jsut to inconvenience and irritate tenants.

DejaB00 Tue 19-Mar-13 11:50:36

special it's ok because we had the cat before moving into rented property (we used to own a house but lost a lot of money so had to rent) and could not find anywhere, and I mean anywhere, that would allow pets. We didn't find anyone who could have him, and we tried. He is the most placid cat, does his business outside, does not scratch anything. We knew he wouldn't damage anything, and he hasn't. If we had put him in a shelter and denied him a loving home I'd have animal lovers telling me how disgusting I am!
Oh and don't talk to me about contracts, most landlords don't keep their side of the bargain anyway, I know mine hasn't.

"Disgusting" is a bit much don't you think?
Bloody hell!

I have a cat my letting agent/landlord doesn't know about.

I find the high priced rents far more "disgusting" than having a cat my ll doesn't know about, but that's a whole other thread....

DejaBOO same here, I had my moggy before we moved. Had to move in a last minute rush & wasn't about to jeopardise our chances of getting the place by saying we had a cat.

Every landlord I have had the pleasure of dealing with has cut corners & lied in some way. I don't feel bad about having my cat, she doesn't cause damage & spends most of her time asleep or outside.

PlasticLentilWeaver Tue 19-Mar-13 12:22:57

Dejaboo having the cat already does not make a breach of your tenancy agreement 'ok'.
As others have said, what if your LL plans to move back there and is severely cat allergic?

I am both a LL and currently a tenant. I live 300 metres from one of the places I rent out, so there is every chance that I might spot a cat in a window.

Although I do allow pets, I specifically ensure that carpets are fumigated between tenants for the benefit of the new ones arriving who might not be keem on fleas. And I would expect them to make good on damage caused. I have asked for a larger deposit on occasion also.

Despite the view that all LL are arses, I have never refused maintenance work, make no profit at all from the rent, use a management agency so that my tenants are left alone by me. In return, my tenants are frequently late paying their rent, or don't pay at all etc.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Tue 19-Mar-13 12:30:19

I think it is a good plan to go back to the landlord with a clear precise addition to the contract that you are totally responsible for any damage to the property caused by the cat.

I am a landlord and if someone asked I would be likely to say yes under the circumstances where liability was totally clear, however, I too would be likely to terminate your contract if you got a cat when you had asked and said no.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Tue 19-Mar-13 12:35:14

also fascinated by how many people feel that housing contracts are easily ignored.

higgle Tue 19-Mar-13 12:40:28

And, if you look on animal rescue sites how many dogs and cats need homes because landlords have discovered them!

I've always had pets in rented accommodation by paying a higher deposit and offering to have it written into the contract that any carpets are professionally cleaned at my expense when I leave, as well as adding in that all pets will be treated with anti flea treatments on a regular basis.

Goodwordguide Tue 19-Mar-13 12:45:06

Also hmm by the attitude that it's fine to lie to your LL - like I said, I would usually say yes to pets but would be mightily pissed off if a tenant sneaked one in, particularly a dog or a cat (DH is allergic).

SoupDreggon Tue 19-Mar-13 12:50:31

Oh god... the fleas!

My house was pet free for two weeks whilst we went on holiday. It was like something out of a horror story when we got back despite the cats & dog being treated with Frontline. Horrendous.

Labootin Tue 19-Mar-13 12:54:09

if I found out a tenant had a pet I would serve notice.

I have a strict no pets rule, but did allow an outside rabbit BECAUSE they asked..

And I am a very good landlord.

DejaB00 Tue 19-Mar-13 13:14:00

Wow that's great, I wish one of you lot were my landlord, cos clearly all would be rosy. My LL does not give a shit about our feelings, or the state of the house (which makes the no pet policy kind of laughable). We pay our rent promptly each month and look after the house and garden like it's our own, yet we are being treated like scum. So I don't feel a bit guilty about having a cat.

SoupDreggon Tue 19-Mar-13 13:19:41

You made the decision about lying to your LL before you moved in though. Your argument really doesn't hold up does it? What would you have done if the LL had been nice? Fessed up about the cat?

DejaB00 Tue 19-Mar-13 13:24:27

soup the answer to that is yes!! We were fully prepared to fess up once we had got to know the agency and LL, maybe say we had to take on a relative's cat or something. Anyway, call me a criminal if you like, I will sleep soundly tonight.
OP, sounds like there are more perfect LLs than I thought so might be worth going back to them with more arguments.

The problem with animals is that it could cause problems for the next tenants, if they have asthma or allergies.

But of course, go right ahead. Be selfish and inconsiderate.

I dont suppose you would be prepared to replace all the carpets when you move and wash down walls and ceilings?

Cosmosim Tue 19-Mar-13 14:28:47

I don't understand all these posts about shite landlord who never maintain a property. Why aren't the tenants moving out? You're hardly going to be taken to court for breach of contract if your LL is breaking it first by not making essential repairs.

xabiuol Tue 19-Mar-13 14:35:50

Moving costs a lot of money. Move from one rental with a bad landlord, pay all the moving costs and suffer all the stress of moving and possibly end up with another bad landlord at the new place?

mungotracy Tue 19-Mar-13 14:44:00

the agent is probably just repeating their standard terms and hasnt actually asked the landlord.....most landlords dont even think about it and the agents put it in because agents are minimum work profiteers...........many landlords understandably don't want dogs in....but.... most wouldnt care tuppence if you had a fish tank. usually i find that clause is dog specific. Ask to speak directly to the landlord or write a letter to the landlord and ask the agent to deliver it so you can tell if they actually have a landlords response or have done the usual agent nonsense and just not bothered..... and offer to pay for any damage or increase the deposit to cover the risk.....

technically theres bugger all they can do if the cat doesnt damage anything..... given they have to announce visits just lock the cat out that day smile

WeAreEternal Tue 19-Mar-13 16:54:22

I can't believe all of the people who have said "just get one anyway".

I am a landlord and I have evicted a tenant for getting a pet and lying/hiding the pet in the past and would again.
Even the best behaved pets cause a substantial amount of additional wear and tear.
It's the landlords house, it's their choice if they wants pets in it or not. If you don't like that or feel you can't live without a pet then maybe you should move.

sugarplumfairy Tue 19-Mar-13 17:16:48

I am also a Landlord and my tenant has recently got a cat, against the terms of her tenancy, and she has also looked after someone's dog! Which is definately not allowed.

I am absolutely amazed at the cheek of it, but when she wants me to meet my obligations, which of course I will do, because I am an honest person, it makes me very cross. We have decided not to do anything about it as we can't be bothered to get her out now, we are waiting for the tenancy to end naturally.

JakeBullet Tue 19-Mar-13 17:24:39

I have been both a tenant and a landlord.
As a tenant I had a cat which I told the Letting Agent about on application.

I would never just get a pet without ensuring the landlord had no objections. A tenant did that to me....I lost all the carpet in my property as tje puppy jad just urinated everywhere. was not revoverable. Had to pull the whole lot up angry .

I wont mention the lack of rent or the time it took to get thr tenant out!

crazynanna Tue 19-Mar-13 18:04:11

Few years ago, I lived in private rented. A brand new house conversion with 2 flats. Beautiful, brand new kitchen,bathroom,doors,flooring, decorating..everything (unfurnished) The LL owned the shop next door, and was there 24/7, and he vigourously stipulated NO PETS!!(I didn't have crazycat then) The lady who took the other flat had a dog, very barky, and in week 1 he had a runny tummy, and pood all over thebrand new carpet downstairs in the communal hall. I didn't mind (I love animals), but the LL definitly knew, and he didn't say a word.

nocake Tue 19-Mar-13 19:37:42

We have a no pets rule on the flat we rent out and we would notice in seconds when we went to check it if a cat had been in there. No matter how well the carpets had been cleaned my DW is allergic enough that she'd notice.

It's very simple... you signed a contract and if you break it you run the risk of being evicted and taken to court for the costs of any damage. Once you have an eviction on your record the chances of a good landlord renting to you are zero.

If you really need a cat talk to your landlord and if he/she says no then you can't have one or you need to move.

AllPurposeNortherner Wed 20-Mar-13 12:12:21

You can't just move out, even if the landlord isn't doing repairs - you are still liable for the rent :-( Not to mention the expense of moving - you have to find the deposit and a months rent up front, whilst still paying the rent on your old place.

I had a house where the oven didn't work for six months, and there was nothing we could do. Every time we rang the agent, they fobbed us off, so we would ring the council, who sent it through all their endless proceedures, got in touch with the landlord, who started repairs. The gas man was their friend and he basically dragged it out as much as he could, leaving weeks between visits, then finding that he had the wrong screw etc. Our entire gas supply got cut off twice, once with a foot of snow outside and a newborn in the house.

Then THEY evicted US. Two months notice, because they wanted to move their daughter in. They fixed the oven the day we moved out and we had to fight them through the DPS for our deposit back as they claimed random damage - luckily we had our check in and check out documents, and plenty of photographs.

I was seriously ill that month (I know they didn't know that) and so we had to find the normal rent, first months rent for the new house, deposit for the new house, agent fees for the new house AND van hire etc out of just XDHs wages.

I've had landlords letting themselves into my house, a smug git of an agent demanding a second inspection because my spare room had unpacked boxes in it (then practically patting me on the head when I had moved them), never ever got a deposit back before the DPS came in, always for utter bollocks reasons, refusal to stop the rain coming in, no warning that a house had a habit of flooding, moving the next tenants in before we had moved out (and were still paying rent) and just endless smug gittery in general.

I'm not going to risk getting a cat here, but I can see why a lot of tenants are very jaded.

fluffyanimal Wed 20-Mar-13 12:26:28

There are a lot of shitty landlords out there.

There are also a lot of shitty tenants.

Having had bad experiences with landlords in the past does not justify ignoring the terms of a tenancy agreement. Please don't get a cat without permission, and if you do get permission, be totally honest with your landlord about anything to do with the cat, e.g. occasional soils, hair, carpet scratching etc, and offer to meet additional costs.

I am a home owner and have a cat who I love to bits. But she has utterly destroyed our carpets, and I mean utterly.

reastie Wed 20-Mar-13 16:04:38

My parents' tenants at one of their properties asked if they could get a cat, DM said no and this is written in their contract. They got one anyway hmm

Does it specify in your rent agreement anything about pets?

AllPurposeNortherner Fri 22-Mar-13 21:42:31

Yeah, it does, but it always does. Friends have told me that they proved themselves good tenants and so were allowed pets after about six months, so I just have to hope for that I suppose.

Corygal Fri 22-Mar-13 21:51:04

Mr Cory, the fat tabby, was introduced to my home as a 'doing a favour for a friend'. Four years on, the landlord's maintenance team bring him cat treats and enquire tenderly after his health.

They even replaced the flooring on the quiet with pure wool twist carpet after I explained the little lad had sensitive claws. They, I and Mr Cory know that I have paid the LL 180,000 quid since I've had the flat, neat profit bar one carpet.

Get a cat.

Atropos Fri 22-Mar-13 21:58:46

I am a landlord and also a cat owner. I do say no cats in my properties and then tend to give way because I know how much people love their pets. I have a clause in my contracts about professional cleaning of the carpets when the lease comes to an end and repair to any damage. However, that said, one of my houses at the moment has the lining paper in a newly decorated sitting room ripped to shreds by a couple of utterly charming kittens only four months into the tenancy. The tenant is currently attempting to rehome the cats and has offered to pay for the damage to be rectified. I am not holding my breath and shall try to be firmer next time someone wants to have cats in one of my houses. It's just too much hassle.

expatinscotland Fri 22-Mar-13 22:15:00

How about a hamster or guinea pig?

Corygal Fri 22-Mar-13 22:21:38

Atropos - I hope the poor little kittens will be kindly rehomed. Did you instigate the expulsion?

ThePoorMansBeckySharp Sat 23-Mar-13 18:29:11

astonished by how many of you take the attitude of "fuck'em, just get one anyway." Presumably you would be happy for your LL to break the terms of your contract at will?

specialsubject Sat 23-Mar-13 18:52:56

awful lot of 'all landlords are crap so I'll do as I bloody please' here. (As is usual when landlords are mentioned.)

how about behaving like grownups rather than whining children? Which part of 'no pets' don't people understand?

friendlyface12 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:01:40

We got a cat, wrongly presumed the owner would say it was ok... So everytime he or the letting agent came to the house we had to
hide her. She was a very timid cat anyway and loved to
hide under the bed which was handy!

It was comical, to clear away evidence of cat- the letting agent renowned for being harsh but never picked up on cat!

Go for it! If you're ever caught with the cag in the house, just say it wanders in and you're trying to
Find out who owns it!
Life's too short. Pets make humans happy smile clean the carpets when you leave.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 25-Mar-13 10:38:20

have you not read the thread friendly face??

if you had you would realise that pets make SOME people happy, and when it is your house you decide, but it is NOT your house.

friendlyface12 Mon 25-Mar-13 16:58:16

No you're right neverknowinglyunderstood, they do
Make some happy. If I were a landlord then I would expect tenants to abide by rules, but I was young... I wouldn't do it now! But I think asking as no allergies then a pet is good- so long as people clean up when they leave.

friendlyface12 Mon 25-Mar-13 17:12:22

Aslong as no allergies (not 'asking'!)

expatinscotland Mon 25-Mar-13 17:15:35

I cannot believe someone would risk making themselves, and that pet they got without permission, homeless like this.

Sunnyshores Mon 08-Apr-13 21:32:58

getting very annoyed reading some of these posts.... I'm amazed so many tenants think they can do what the hell they like as they begrudgingly pay ie £500 a month. Is lying and deceiving acceptable in other areas of life, or just when it comes to landlords?

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