Pets in Property – My tenant is asking me can she get a pet cat or dog. If I allowed a pet will my landlord’s insurance cover the risks? Would it be best to also increase the deposit? Would it be possible to increase the rent due to the pet?
This is a situation I hate as a landlord: you have a good tenant and now they want a pet, or as often happens, they introduced one without permission, despite the agreement prohibiting this.
Although the latter case may breach the contract, the Office of Fair Trading “Guidance on Unfair Tenancy Terms” states that blanket bans on pets are unfair – it could be a gold fish, for example.
However, pets which could potentially cause damage or nuisance can reasonably be prohibited.
Obviously you don’t want to lose a good tenant or start an expensive eviction process due to a pet, unless the situation warrants it.
But seemingly innocent and cuddly pets can cause serious amounts of damage, especially kittens or puppies left in the house all day while the tenant is at work. Older house trained pets are a lot less trouble, but invariably young singles or couple tenants introduce young pets.
Smells in sodden carpets are almost impossible to remove and scratches to furniture and furnishing, walls and floors invariably mean replacements rather than cleaning or repairs. The slightest cat or dog smell can seriously repulse future prospective tenants. This is not to mention noise nuisance, fleas and vermin sometimes introduced. These points are difficult to get across to tenants.
If you decide to accept, or you are faced with a fate accompli, you must protect your investment; you have several options:
- Sign an addendum pet agreement (1) or a new tenancy agreement incorporating a pet clause, perhaps at an increased rental. This should make it absolutely clear that the tenant accepts full responsibility for any damage caused by the pet/s.
- Increase the deposit, making sure you have a good inventory with photographs.
- Speak to your insurance company about damage to landlord’s contents and the additional risks.
Pet Pals http://tiny.cc/spH9R have a tenant’s policy for pets – insures against damage in rental accommodation as well as vet’s bills.
A free Pet agreement is available here: https://www.landlordzone.co.uk/agreements.htm
©LandlordZONE All Rights Reserved – never rely totally on these standard answers which apply primarily to England and Wales. Before taking action or not, always do your own research and/or seek professional advice with the full facts of the case and all documents to hand.