Fish Tanks In Rental Properties: Things To Consider

Several goldfish in a fish tank

Fish tanks are a great way to add a little colour and life to a home. They can brighten up any room, create a calming atnosphere and make a home feel more open and inviting.

Landlords are not required to allow fish tanks in their rental properties, but those who do, may likely see their tenants stay longer as they are one of many ways of personalising a home and making it their own.

What landlord doesn’t want a good tenant to stay long term!?

On the downside, owning a fish tank is a big responsibility. Not only do people have to consider the time and cost of maintaining a tank, but they also have to consider the risks associated with keeping a fish tank.

Whether you are a landlord or tenant, this article will provide you with the important things you should consider before making a decision.

Landlord Considerations

Before making a decision, you should identify and consider the challenges that housing a fish tank can bring. Not all properties are suited for accommodating aquariums as they require a dedicated space and stable temperature and humidity.

Is The Property Big Enough To Accommodate A Fish Tank?

If you’re considering allowing a fish tank in your buy-to-let property, one of the first things you’ll need to think about is whether or not the property is big enough to accommodate one. Aquariums come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

Fish tanks are not suitable for properties where there isn’t enough free space to accommodate them, whilst also providing easy access for cleaning and maintenance. If you’re letting a smaller house or apartment, a standard sized goldfish bowl placed on a kitchen counter top may be the only option. 

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need at least 2-3 square feet of space for a small fish tank, and 5-10 square feet for a large fish tank. Keep in mind that these are just minimum guidelines – if you have more space available, tenants could definitely go with a bigger tank size!

Also keep in mind that the space required for an aquarium needs to be located in a safe place and won’t be in the way of any foot passages or furniture.

Maintenance Which Could Incur Costs

Temperature and humidity are also important considerations when housing a fish tank. Most fish thrive in warm water (between 23°C and 27°C), so if your rental property is naturally cool, your tenant will need to use a heater to maintain the water temperature.

Similarly, high humidity can cause problems for some fish species, so they may need to use a dehumidifier in conjunction with their aquarium.

If you are letting your property with ‘bills included’, you will want to consider the costs that the additional electrical appliances will add to the electricity bill.

Finally, all fish tanks require regular maintenance to keep the water clean and the fish healthy. This includes cleaning the tank itself, as well as changing the water on a regular basis.

Again, if you are responsible for paying the utility bills, you will want to consider the additional costs that would be added to the water bill.

What Type Of Damage Can A Fish Tank Cause To A Property?

A fish tank may cause a lot of damage to a property if it leaks. The water can seep into the walls and create mold and mildew, which can be harmful to peoples health. The dampness can also damage the furniture, carpet or other type of flooring.

Black Mould On A Rental Property Wall

If a slow leak is not noticed and fixed, it could cause a huge amount of water damage over time to the building.

In addition, if the fish tank is not cleaned regularly the water can become dirty and stagnant, which can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria. The water in the tank can start to smell, and the tank itself can become an eyesore.

Another thing to keep in mind is that fish tanks can be a fire hazard. The heat generated by the lights and pumps can be a danger, especially if the tank is located near flammable materials. You may want to require tenants to have their fish tanks inspected by a professional once they have set it up.

Tanks can also be a source of noise pollution. The sound of the pumps and filters can be disruptive, especially if the tank is located in a bedroom or other quiet area of the rental property.

Lastly, you should think about your liability in case of an accident. If a tenant’s fish tank leaks and causes damage to the property or injures someone, you could be held responsible. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage in case of an accident.

Tenant Considerations

If you’re thinking of getting a fish tank, there are a few things you need to take into consideration first.

Check The Tenancy Agreement

First, you will need to check your tenancy agreement to see if there is a clause explicitly prohibiting pets. If there is such a clause, then it is likely that you will not be able to keep a fish tank in your home without risking eviction.

Even if your tenancy agreement does not explicitly prohibit pets, you will still need to consider whether or not your landlord would reasonably consider a fish tank to be a pet.

This is because most landlords have the right to evict tenants for keeping pets without permission.

If you are unsure whether or not your landlord would consider a fish tank to be a pet, it is always best to err on the side of caution and get permission before setting one up.

Communication is key! And don’t get caught out on a property inspection.

Cost And Time Associated With Purchasing And Maintaining An Aquarium

The cost of buying and setting up the tank, as well as the ongoing costs of maintaining it, can quickly add up.

You’ll also need to think about the time commitment involved in looking after your fish. Feeding them and cleaning the tank can take up a fair amount of time and you’ll need to monitor their health closely to ensure they stay in good condition.

If you’re not around to do these things regularly, your fish will suffer.

Another thing to consider is the type of fish you’d like to keep. Some fish, like goldfish, are relatively low-maintenance, while others, like tropical fish or salt water fish require more care.

If you’re not sure which type of fish is right for you, it’s a good idea to talk to a pet store employee or other expert before making your purchase.

There’s also the potential for damage to the property. A leaky fish tank can cause a lot of damage, so it’s important to make sure it’s properly set up and regularly maintained.

If you’re still set on getting a fish tank, there are a few things you can do to minimise the risk of problems.

First, make sure you choose a reputable brand for your tank that offers good customer support in case you have any problems.

Second, buy an insurance policy that covers damage caused by leaks or other problems with the fish tank. This will give you peace of mind in case anything does go wrong.

Third, be realistic about the time commitment involved in looking after your fish. If you know you won’t be able to dedicate enough time to them, it’s probably best to reconsider getting a fish tank.

Finally, you’ll need to decide where to put your fish tank. It’s important to choose a location that is out of direct sunlight and away from any areas where drafts might occur (such as near a door or window).

You’ll also need to have easy access to an electrical socket, as most tanks require an aquarium filter and/or heater.

I can highly recommend reading this article on which covers everything you need to know from tank sizes to keeping the water at the ideal temperature.

Potential Risk Of Damages

Finally, even if you are able to set up a fish tank without violating your tenancy agreement and risking eviction, and you believe you have the time and funds to purchase and maintain an aquarium, you should still be aware of the potential risks associated with doing so.

For example, if the tank leaks and causes damage to the property, the landlord may seek eviction due to the damage and you could also be liable for the cost of repairs from your deposit.

Therefore, it is important to weigh all the risks and benefits of setting up a fish tank before making any decisions.

Goldfish In A Buy To Let Property

Does ‘No Pets’ Clause In Tenancy Agreement Include Fish?

We’ve all seen the standard ‘no pets’ clause in tenancy agreements. But does this clause really mean absolutely no pets at all? Including fish?

The answer is maybe. If you’re a tenant who is looking to rent a home, and you already own a fish tank, you should ask the landlord if they would be willing to allow a fish tank into the property before you sign a tenancy agreement with a ‘no pets allowed’ clause.

If you’re a landlord, and you are willing to allow fish tanks, you should update the tenancy agreement to reflect this. You can be as specific as you like within the tenancy agreement. For exampe, two fish tanks upto and including 60 Litres each are allowed on the ground floor of the property.

If you’re a tenant who has lived in the property for a while and has decided that a fish tank would be a good fit for you and your home, you should contact your landlord or letting agent and ask the question.

Informing them of the size and type of fish tank you would like to purchase, and the upkeep and maintenance that you know will be required, will help to give the landlord confidence that there would be little risk to their property.

Some people do not consider fish as pets, and only think of cats and dogs because they can sometimes be destructive. It all depends on how your tenancy agreement is worded.

If the agreement specifically states ‘no pets’, then this would usually exclude fish.

It’s important to remember that tenancy agreements are there to protect both landlords and tenants.

Will A Landlord Evict A Tenant For Having A Fish Tank?

Landlords can evict tenants for breaking the terms and conditions of their rental agreement. If there is a ‘no pets allowed’ clause within the tenancy agreement, then a landlord can start the eviction process of a tenant for having a fish tank.

A tenant cannot be evicted for having a fish tank if the tenancy agreement allows for fish tanks to be kept in the rental property.

Much like other pets, landlords have the right to include a pet clause in their tenancy agreement. This clause outlines what types of pets are allowed in the rental property. If the tenant breaks this clause, the landlord may have cause to evict the tenant.

If the tenancy agreement does not mention whether fish tanks are allowed, the landlord would need to provide the tenant with reasonable notice that they must remove the fish tank. Likewise, if the landlord is happy for the tenant to keep the fish tank, the tenancy agreement should be updated to reflect that fact.

Andy Walker

Andy Walker is a property investor and landlord with over 20 years of experience, providing free education to help others start or improve their Buy-To-Let business.

Recent Posts