Most landlords believe insurance is the best way to address the problem of pet damage despite less than 1% having been able to recoup the costs through an insurance policy.

Following the government’s announcement in the Fairer Renting White Paper that landlords can request tenants’ pets are fully insured – meaning that damage to property is likely to be covered by a pet policy – a survey by Propertymark, NLRA, LandlordZONE and pet charity AdvoCATS found that 65% favoured insurance.

Recoup costs

The study also revealed that 57% of landlords and agents were unable to recoup the costs of damage by pets, 29% recovered costs from the standard rental deposit and 11% recovered costs through a special pet deposit.

While 46% of landlords and agents would like tenants to pay through the landlord for this insurance, 19% trust the tenant to hold this and claim themselves, 30% would prefer a separate pet deposit to be included as standard for lettings with pets, and 4% believe an additional element added to the standard deposit would encourage them to rent to people with pets.

Adult tenants

The survey also showed that pet damage poses the same threat as damage inflicted by adult tenants, with 85% of respondents saying they’ve experienced both. But while the majority of landlords and agents let out their property unfurnished, neither type of let was more likely to be damaged by pets, suggesting that landlords hoping to avoid expensive pet damage bills by leasing property unfurnished were likely to be disappointed.

James Wood, NRLA policy manager, says: “With many landlords unable to recover damage caused by pets, it is no surprise that landlords generally prefer to let to tenants without pets. Particularly those with smaller portfolios who are not able to absorb the losses caused by damage.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. “Following the government’s announcement in the Fairer Renting White Paper that landlords can request tenants’ pets are fully insured – meaning that damage to property is likely to be covered by a pet policy – a survey by Propertymark, NLRA, LandlordZONE and pet charity AdvoCATS found that 65% favoured insurance.”

    That’s only “request”. What if the tenant refuses? What if the tenant gets insurance and cancels it immediately? Can the landlord evict the tenant for not having pet insurance? I suspect not. And what can the landlord do about it? Probably nothing.

    Damage to property is only “likely” to be covered?

    The idea of insurance doesn’t do it for me. Compensation for pet damage isn’t guaranteed and the pet damage I’ve suffered in my property has cost me thousands – that’s ME not the TENANT.

    • Agree absolutely – all possibilities but no guarranty of covering the damage from insurance claim even if the tenant actually has a policy. Even with an insurance policy taken out by landlord, the insurance company will make landlord jump through impossible hoops to achieve a successful claim – a long winded and difficult time consuming process no doubt!
      As for additional deposit – we can only hold the equivalent of 5 weeks rent now, and in many cases if the deposit was doubled to say 10 weeks, it still wouldn’t be sufficient to cover the risk posed by dogs/cats and irresponsible owners. Best avoid pets or exit the market or put rent up to crazy levels to front load now for the looming massive risks to landlords from the rental reforms legislation on the way.

  2. The tenant maintaining insurance throws up many issues that have been discussed on this site. In particular is their ability or willingness to maintain a policy and my concern as a landlord is the issues that arise if their policy lapses. However, if the landlord takes out a policy and charges the tenant, this also comes with its own set of problems. I imagine the underwriter will want impeccable references making it harder for certain types or renter, but also adding to the admin burden of the landlord. Then you have the issue that there is no guarantee the insurance company will pay out. Typically they look for reasons not to pay and it will be a haggle and another layer of hassle and risk. Further, multiple claims by the same landlord could potentially result in increased or excessive premiums for other tenants, or even refusal to insure. Insurance is not a tidy solution, but neither is an increased deposit unless it is substantial. An extra week or two is nothing given the potential loss. Once again, Government interfering with no idea what they are doing. But whichever option they go for, invariably it will disadvantage the landlord.

  3. Ridiculous….how on earth can a landlord ensure there is pet insurance in place? The Government really don’t have a clue about the reality of renting out properties. Is a tenant who is struggling to pay their gas, electric and other household bills really going to pay pet insurance? A landlord will do the sensible thing and increase the rent to cover any costs at the end of the tenancy.

  4. According to Money Supermarket “most home insurance policies don’t cover pet damage unless it’s accidental. Insurers tend not to include pet damage in their home insurance because they like to know exactly how much risk they’re dealing with – and with a pet, that’s much harder to work out. It’s difficult for insurers to know how well your pet has been trained, and animals are always a little unpredictable – so most insurers will prefer not to get involved”. So it will be difficult for tenants to find insurance against their pets scratching, digging chewing, tearing, vomiting, fouling, or urinating unless it’s from a specialist provider and after filling in a comprehensive proposal form and it won’t be cheap. So if tenants ask about, a pet you can say yes, but only on condition that they take out and prove they have specialised insurance. They won’t of course, they will just smuggle them in and lie about them as usual “it’s my sisters dog I am looking after it for a couple of days etc. etc”.
    Perhaps landlords can offer rents with and without pets? (extra 5-10%?) Probably won’t be allowed. The Government have not thought this through at all.

    • The idea of an increased rent for tenancy with pets is an interesting idea. Say +50% rent but unlikely to be allowed and as you say it could mean tenants agrees no pets but then has them anyway. Will landlord then be able to get automatic eviction order – I doubt it! So reality is landlords will favour tenants without pets. WAKE UP Government – there are enough abandoned pets and irresponsible pet owners as it is.

  5. Perfectly possible to charge more rent if pets involved.
    If no deductions requied then LL refunds all the addtional rent as a ‘goodwill gesture’
    There will of course be some retention of the additional rent as HMRC won’t allow ‘goodwill gestures’ to be offset against income.

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