Landlords: What to do if your Tenant has an Unauthorised Pet

Finding out that one of your tenants has an unauthorised pet can be an unexpected surprise. Especially if it was clearly explained when they signed that pets are not allowed. Unauthorized pets are typically discovered during a regular inspection or after a report from a neighbour or flatmate. However, as your tenant has most likely become emotionally invested in the pet it is a situation that needs to be handled with care. Here’s a few suggestions for what you can do if your tenant has an unauthorised pet in your property.

Check AST

This will be the first place to start before you make contact with the tenant regarding the unauthorised pet. This is extremely important as it will ensure you are clued in to any terms or clauses within the tenancy agreement they signed before they moved in and will have a copy of. As the chances are that once you make contact this will be their first port of call to try and save their animal from eviction.

Follow Formal Procedures

Once a breach in tenancy has been discovered in the form of an unauthorised pet it is important to follow formal procedure and ensure everything is handled professionally and correctly. If anything is noticed on a viewing it is a good idea to get photographic evidence. You will then need to send your tenant official notice stating the breach and the time in which they have to rectify the issue (i.e. get rid of pet).

Ensure that you issue this notice in writing and it is clearly worded to avoid any confusion as to what the issue is and what the solution needs to be. The last line of a tenancy breach notice will usually be something along the lines of ‘failure to comply could result in eviction and removal from the property’ to ensure the tenants realise the seriousness and severity of the situation.

Be Reasonable

As previously mentioned, it also needs to be remembered in situations like this that you are asking a person to get rid of a pet which they may be incredibly emotionally invested in. To avoid any lasting conflict and resentment try and act with reason. You could demand that the pet is removed within 24 hours. However, it is likely that this may come across unreasonable and also unlikely to happen, as the tenant will want to ensure they can find a suitable home for their beloved animal rather than just a quick fix.

It’s also worth noting to tenants if the rules are something that are being imposed upon you by someone else i.e. the owner of your building if it is an apartment block. This will help the tenants see that this decision is out of your control and not anything personal. They should understand that if by not asking them to remove the pet you are breaching the obligations of your lease meaning in a worst case scenario that they would have to leave their property.

To conclude it’s always a difficult situation to approach when you realise a tenant is breaching their tenancy. However, it’s even worse if you find out the breach is due to an unauthorised pet the tenant has brought into the property. However, as long as you check your documents, act professionally and reasonably it is a situation that can be rectified. 

Disclaimer: Ezylet is not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information shared in the above blog is an opinion based on personal experiences within the property rental sector, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice.