Pets in Lets:
It’s the age-old debate between landlords and tenants. Should a landlord allow a tenant to rent their property if they have a pet? If we look at the ‘No pets allowed’ plastered over every advert and a resolute mantra from lettings agents, it’s clear that most landlords do not allow pets in their buy-to-let. But perhaps it’s time to reconsider this stance, with a few conditions of course.
Dogs Trust conducted research and found that 78% of pet owners had difficulties finding a rental property that would accept their furry friend. Plus, 1 in 3 property owners could not find anywhere that would accept their pet. It’s also reported that tenants with pets take up to 7 times longer to find a rental property that is willing to accept them. There are good reasons as to why a landlord would be hesitant to accept a pet:
- Damage to property such as ripped carpets, shredded curtains and scratched wooden floors
- Pets, particularly dogs, could cause a disturbance to neighbours with late night barking
- It may affect tenants in the future if they are allergic to animals
- It may cost more to clean the property once the tenants have left
- Flea infestation, which is expensive to remedy
- For a fully furnished let, cats and dogs are likely to damage furniture from chewing and scratching
This list is hard to ignore and may give many landlords the resolution to continue rejecting tenants with pets. However, the Dogs Trust research also found that 47% of landlords didn’t give any reason for not allowing a tenant to keep a pet. Perhaps the ‘No pets’ mantra has simply been reinforced in the industry without real thought to individual circumstances.
A naughty 14% of tenants keep pets in a property, without asking for their landlord’s consent, so perhaps a reasonable agreement, such as a higher deposit or a guarantee the property will be professionally cleaned, would be a better approach?
The private rental sector now accounts for 21% of the housing market, more than 5 million, households. And this figure is only set to increase as house prices rise faster than wages. And from Upad’s research, 40% tenants have been renting for 4 or more years – showing that longer term renting is here to stay. With that in mind, should the no pets rule be relaxed, to allow tenants to settle into a rented home just a property owner would be able to?
What, you may be asking, are the advantages to letting to tenants with pets?
- Pet owners are likely to stay longer at a property, considering the difficulties they face finding a suitable rental
- They may be more likely to look after the property well, to prove that their pet won’t cause any problems
- Landlords could charge a higher rent. A Upad tenant survey found that 24% of pet owners would be willing to pay that extra rent
- The property may let faster, avoiding dreaded void periods, with so many pet owners struggling to find a rented a property to accept them.
You may not be convinced, and we don’t blame you. It’s important to consider the potential damage caused by pets and protect your investment. If you do decide to accept pets, make sure to ask for a higher deposit to cover any damage caused and carry out regular inspections to make sure the property is looked after.
You could also ask for vet records, to ensure the pet is up-to-date with vaccines and flea treatment. We’d recommend asking the tenant to agree to pay for a professional clean at the end of the tenancy, and this will avoid any deposit disputes over cleaning.
But always ensure you have a detailed, professional inventory check-in and check-out to show any changes in the property condition. If your “no pets” resolve may be softening, LetwithPets offers fantastic advice on protecting your investment if you do decide to allow pets – they offer free information on pet clauses, pet references and pet deposits.
This article has been supplied to LandlordZONE® by online letting agents Upad©LandlordZONE® – legal content applies primarily to England and is not a definitive statement of the law, always seek professional advice.