Pets in Lets:
With more tenants renting for longer and as a lifestyle choice it is inevitable that more families and more tenants with pets will be looking to rent for the long-term.
The most recent English Housing Survey published in January this year shows that private renting now amounts to 20% of all households and in London it is now the is the largest housing tenure. It also shows that 27% of tenants involved in this annual survey had been renting for 10 or more years.
Both families and pets create more wear and tear on a property so this is something that landlords need to factor into their business model.
Long-term lets have the advantage that there are fewer void periods, and fewer tenant changes which is always a hassle for landlords, but it is likely that more work will be needed when eventually there is a change of tenant. This might range from a professional clean and tidy up of the décor, to a complete refurb.
Technically, landlords cannot refuse to allow pets in the property, and the longer the stay the more likely it is that pets may be introduced. However, it is perfectly reasonable for landlords to require permission to keep pets, and this should be built into every tenancy agreement. The landlord can legitimately refuse to allow unsuitable animals. For instance a large dog in a small flat.
According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC) as reported by propertywire.com landlords need to use caution when allowing pets in their properties. Although taking tenants with pets will widen the pool of prospective tenants, in what is now a highly competitive market, wear and tear is definitely an issue to be considered.
The AIIC advice is that landlords should take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, their investments and their profits.
A separate pet agreement is a useful tool to ensure that the tenants are well aware of their responsibilities with pets. Things such as injections, exercise routines, noise and neighbour considerations, damage that can be caused, all weigh heavily on the landlord if these things are not adhered to.
Additionally, making sure you are covered by a comprehensive insurance policy which takes pets into account (possibly at a higher premium), taking an additional deposit amount, and specifying a professional clean at the end of the tenancy at all important precautions.
Pets, some much more than others, can potentially cause quite a bit of damage inside a property, particularly leaving odours, which can be difficult if not impossible to remove without changing such things as carpets.
Taking a higher deposits to cover these additional risks is a sensible precaution, but as there’s a Bill currently passing through Parliament which is likely to cap deposits at six weeks’ rent, the landlord’s hands are likely to be tied on this in the future.
With the passage of the Tenant Fees Bill landlords will need to rely on the one concession in this bill which will give some recompense in the event of damage; that is the breach of contract clause, which will allow claims for things which breach the tenancy agreement.
Perhaps one of the most important tools in the landlord’s armoury to assist with any damage claims is a good inventory, and using an independent inventory clerk to do the inventory, giving you a completely independent assessment, is even better.
If you want peace of mind it’s important to consider all these eventualities beforehand and be prepared for the worst.
Find a comprehensive list of UK Inventory Clerks here