With the recent spike in people getting their very first apartment, we have noticed a few people reaching out and asking various questions about what is and is not considered a pet in a “no pets” tenancy agreement with one of the main questions being if fish are considered pets when renting or not.
Now, this is not actually as straightforward as you may think and a large amount of it will come down to the discretion of the landlord or building manager but you may be leaving yourself open to some potential legal problems.
We have decided to publish our own article going over keeping fish when renting in a “no pets” apartment to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Just keep in mind that we are pet owners, not lawyers so you should always seek independent legal advice for specifics but we will be going over a number of stories that we have seen people reporting when it comes to keeping fish in their first apartment even if the apartment has a no pets policy.
As we wanted to cover three distinct sections within the article, we have added a table of contents below to make it as easy as possible for your to skip to various sections without having to skim the full article.
That said though, we would highly recommend that you read the full article to try and make sure you do not end up getting caught out and stuck with a bill or fine for keeping fish in breach of your tenancy agreement with your landlord.
Are Fish Considered Pets When Renting?
Fish are generally considered pets when renting but the main clauses in the majority of lease agreements are designed to prevent people from keeping noisy pets in their home that may disturb other residences or result in pets peeing in the home.
Many landlords will grant an exemption for fish and write it into your lease agreement that you are able to keep fish in the apartment provided you agree to pay for any damaged carpet due to water spills.
There are countless reports from people who have requested permission to keep fish in their apartment and their landlord has granted an exemption with the condition that they pay for any potential damage due to water from the tank.
This tends to be quick and easy to do, especially at the start of the renting process when the contract is still being drawn up as it is easy to add in.
Put yourself in the landlords shoes, they have taken the time to vet your application and make sure you are a suitable fit for their accommodation as well as able to pay rent on time.
It is very unlikely that they will refuse you due to you wanting to keep a fish tank or two but if you are a keep fish keeper with a large number of aquariums, they may request that you put your own insurance policy in place to cover any potential damage but most landlords are reasonable when it comes to fish.
Do I Have To Let My Landlord Know I Keep Fish?
We would highly recommend that you let your landlord know that you keep or plan to keep fish in your apartment if your lease has a no pets clause.
If you do not inform your landlord that you are keeping fish then you are in breach of your contract and they are able to use it as a way to fine you or even potentially evict you in some cases.
Although rare, we have seen some reports of landlords trying to evict people due to having a new tenant who will pay more for the apartment and using the fact that the current tenant keeps fish as a way to force them out.
If you tell your landlord that you are a fish keeper and have it wrote into your contract then your contract helps to protect you from this.
We have seen a number of reports of people being fined for keeping fish without informing their landlord too but we would suspect that some potential water spillage stains from water changes in their tank will come into play for this one too.
This is just another reasons to be upfront with your landlord though and inform them that you will be keeping fish in the apartment prior to you moving in.
Can A Landlord Evict Me If I Keep Fish?
Landlords are able to try to evict you for keeping fish in an apartment where you sign a lease with a no pets clause.
Although rare, there are a number of reports online from people who have had this happen to them but the real reason for the eviction usually seems to be something else but the breach of contract for keeping fish allows landlords to quickly and easily start eviction procedures as you are in breach of your contract.
Many people seem to think that the less properties that their landlord owns the more reasonable they will be when it comes to keeping fish but it would seem that the opposite is true.
A smaller landlord may be more likely to try and get you out of the property if a new potential tenant who will pay more becomes available.
Larger landlords who own a large number of properties are usually too busy for things like that and are more likely to grand you an exemption for keeping your fish as they just want tenants in their properties who will pay their rent and not cause problems.
Some of the larger landlords may already have exemptions for smaller pets in their lease contracts such as fish or hamsters so check your contract and see what is actually in the pets clause.
That brings our article going over if fish are considered pets or not when renting to an end. We hope that we have been able to explain why you should always tell your landlord that you want to keep pet fish as early as possible. Trying to sneak fish into your apartment is usually more risk than its worth with the potential downside being a fine or even eviction in some cases so its just not worth it.