There is no denying that many private landlords, indeed the majority of them, want to avoid pets like the plague.
Having experienced the ravages of pets myself, on several occasions, I can understand the sentiment against, but the reality is that more and more people and families are renting and excluding tenants or potential tenants with pets becomes a problem for society, not just the individual landlord.
Yes, pets can cause issues in a property if not responsibly cared for.
Kittens and puppies not only cause expensive damage to floor coverings, furniture and furnishing, through knawing and scratching, but their urine produces immovable smells, usually necessitating the complete replacement of floor coverings.
That’s not to mention the potential problems with neighbours, noise, nuisance etc.
These are issues that need to be dealt with in a sensible way that penalises neither party. Pet owners need to appreciate that if damage is caused it needs to be paid for.
Damage is inevitable
Landlords need to appreciate that unless the pet is particularly well cared for and docile, some damage is inevitable.
It is not wise to rent out property, perhaps your own home, that contains furniture and furnishing of great sentimental value. If pets are to be present, particularly young dogs and cats – damage of some sort is almost inevitable.
On the other hand, providing pet friendly accommodation, with floor coverings, furniture and furnishings to suit, perhaps not over expensive and easily replaceable, might be a sensible solution.
Deposits are now restricted, which makes landlords nervous when pets are involved. But there are other means of providing some protection against loss, including insurance policies.
Right to Rent with pets
As we reported yesterday, the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has launched its campaign with the aim of securing for tenants the legal “Right to Rent with Pets”.
“Our pets are important for many reasons, it says. “They are a source of genuine companionship for many – which explains why more than 17 million British households own at least one pet – and being in the presence of pets has been scientifically proven to improve mental health, reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and improve our overall mood, helping to combat mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression.”
“Having a pet also encourages a healthier lifestyle, by helping create better daily routines and increasing cardiovascular exercise through taking a companion animal for a walk or playing with them, therefore improving physical health too.”
Who can argue with those sentiments: there are undoubted benefits for pet ownership, but with that invariably comes a cost, and the question many landlords would ask is, who pays, who stands the cost without long protracted and unpleasant arguments about what damage has been caused when the end of a tenancy eventually arrives?
The Dogs Trust, UK’s dog welfare charity, agrees with NOAH that the benefits of pet ownership shouldn’t be exclusive to homeowners, but open to private and social renters as well.
With the number of people privately renting increasing year on year, says the Trust, the news that the Government is looking to make it easier for private tenants to have pets in their homes, has never been more important.
The benefits of pet ownership, handled responsibly, are overwhelming. But private landlords need some assurance when they are putting their investments at some risk.