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Pets and service animals in rented homes

This advice applies to Scotland

You want to keep a pet in your rented home

You can keep pets as long as it's not specifically forbidden in your tenancy agreement and it doesn't cause a nuisance to neighbours. You should read the contract you signed most recently. 

Even if a tenancy agreement says that pets aren't allowed, it can be difficult for a landlord to enforce this condition.

If you are a private tenant you should normally seek the landlord’s permission because, even if you have a legal right to keep pets, the landlord may be able to find some other reason for evicting you if they do not approve. Keeping unauthorised pets could also lead the landlord to more closely scrutinise any damage at the end of the tenancy (for example, to carpets or furniture) to then withhold some of your tenancy deposit.

If your neighbours have noisy pets

If your neighbours' pets cause noise problems, for example by barking for long periods of time, there are steps you can take. If you can't resolve a noise dispute with your neighbour, you can report them to the local council. Read more about noise disputes with neighbours. 

If you're threatened with eviction because of a pet

If you are threatened with eviction because you are keeping pets, you may be able to defend this even if it's in breach of the tenancy agreement. This depends on what kind of tenancy you have. See more about what to do if you're threatened with eviction

If you are keeping pets against your tenancy agreement you should consult an experienced adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

Assistance dogs and service animals

If there's a term in your tenancy agreement which bans pets, you can ask your landlord to change it to allow you to have an assistance dog. For example, if you're visually impaired and have a guide dog. 

Your landlord must agree to do this if you're disabled and you need an assistance dog to be able to live in the property. This is known as making a 'reasonable adjustment'. If your landlord refuses to make a reasonable adjustment, they may be discriminating against you and could be acting illegally. 

If your tenancy agreement says you can have an assistance pet but your landlord does not agree to this you should consult an experienced adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.  

In some circumstances, a landlord may be able to refuse to make a reasonable adjustment if they have a good enough reason, for example, on health and safety grounds. More about the landlord's duty to make reasonable adjustments and discrimination

If you are disabled and your landlord refuses to allow you to keep an assistance dog, you should consult an experienced adviser, for example at a Citizens Advice Bureau - where to get advice.

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