A young renter has told LandlordZONE how offering to take pet damage insurance helped convince a landlord to accept her two dogs, after receiving countless rejections.

Catriona Clarke (pictured) and her partner were beginning to despair of ever finding a pet-friendly home in Cambridge as letting agents told them before each potential viewing that their animals weren’t welcome.

“It was so dispiriting and humiliating to be told ‘no’ all the time,” she tells LandlordZONE. “Our dogs Izzy and Leo are small and well-behaved, and Izzy is Leo’s support dog, who’s blind.”

They finally viewed the perfect house where a landlord had said that pets were acceptable, only to narrowly miss out to another applicanmt – and pet-free – couple.

The agent admitted that dogs had been the deal-breaker and Catriona’s despairing Tweet got a response from AdvoCATS charity boss Jen Berezai, who suggested they create a dog CV with photos and take out the pet damage insurance.

After the other couple didn’t pay the holding deposit, the landlord agreed to offer Catriona the property instead.

“I’m sure doing that helped us,” she adds, “but children would probably cause more damage than most pets.”

A recent NRLA/Battersea Dogs & Cats Home poll found 60% of landlords are concerned about damage but that 42% would be most likely to change their minds about allowing pets if a tenant offered to get their own insurance.

A change to the current capped deposit legislation and demonstrating responsible pet ownership would also help convince 33% and 31% respectively.

pets jen

Berezai says the survey shows many landlords would be more willing to allow pets provided there was some protection from potential pet damage.

“By amending the Tenant Fees Act to allow a landlord to stipulate pet damage insurance must be held or request a separate, financially capped pet deposit, many, many more rented homes will open up to pets – which benefits both landlords and tenants,” she says.

The AdvoCATS charity has signed up 42 MPs who support its Heads for Tails! Report calling on the government to amend the Act and hopes the proposal will be included in the upcoming Renters Reform Bill.


  1. Ive never had a prospective tenant tell me their dogs are large and badly behaved.

    It seems every dog owner in the Country has a “small, well behaved dog”

  2. It used to be very easy to let to tenants with pets, when landlords were able to lodge higher deposits. Many pet owners were happy to lodge a huge deposit in order to secure accommodation for their family with pets. The Tenant Fees Act is a typical example of legislation that was introduced with little thought about the consequences. Now that the landlords can only take a deposit equivalent to five weeks’ rent, they are clearly less inclined to let to people with pets. This was entirely predictable. Yet again the government has done a disservice to the people they intended to help! Duh!

  3. Tenants may get pet damage insurance for the first year but what happens if they refuse to renew it after that? Will a landlord be allowed to have their property back right away? Thought not.
    Also, how are smells recorded / demonstrated /measured on any claims forms or deposit claims?

  4. We have had both types of pet owners. Some who leave the house spotless and one horse owning tenant who let her dogs run riot leaving faeces all over the new carpets in the bedrooms and other damage that came to £20,000 to put right. After taking her and her guarantor to Court we were awarded £5000 and basically told to be grateful by the Judge. So we might as well have given her the property free. We won’t take any tenants who own a horse now as they are often not clean and tidy people. We still allow dogs and cats but make regular checks. Compulsory annual pet insurance with no limits would be ideal, arranged by the landlord and charged to the tenant as rent by law is the only real solution, IMHO.

  5. I would never trust a tenant to provide insurance. They could just stop paying once they’re in. I might be persuaded if they agreed to give me extra to arrange my own pet insurance.

  6. No. I wouldn’t have helped. My tenants, over the years, have all sorts of pets – fish, birds, cats, dogs …. and every single one of them has caused me problems.


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