Tue 31 Mar 2020
Most landlords are wary of the potential damage, smells and noise complaints that can come with accommodating a tenant with pets. But with demand soaring for pet-friendly properties, is it time to reap the benefits that allowing animals could give you?*
The Dogs Trust campaign ‘lets with pets’ states: “Landlords and letting agencies who exclude pet owners from their properties are missing out on a large share of the rental market, as almost half of households in the UK currently own a pet. By adopting a pet-friendly approach, you can easily increase demand for your property and attract long-term, responsible tenants.”
Tenants may stay longer: Once a tenant finds the holy grail of a tenancy that allows a four-legged friend, they are far less likely to leave it.
Rents can be more profitable: Post tenant fee ban, it’s no longer possible to charge an additional “pet deposit”. However, most tenants will be willing to increase the rent by a small amount to account for additional wear and tear.
Pet owners can be more responsible tenants: For most people, a pet is like a member of the family and they take their ownership very seriously. To have a pet you need commitment, a regular income and a responsible nature – all things you would list when you think about a desirable tenant.
Preparation is key
There are certain measures you can take to make sure a tenancy with a pet goes smoothly.
Get your terms down in writing
If you’re happy to have a pet in your property, but there are some things you wouldn’t be comfortable with – simply make sure your boundaries are set out in writing. Things to include could be: you don’t want any animals bred in the property, or you only want the pet you agreed to and no more.
Make these clear and concise and share them with your tenant on a document you can both sign and keep.
Ask for a pet reference if possible
If your tenant is moving from one house to another, it could be a good idea to ask them to provide a reference from the previous landlord. If the animal was well behaved and didn’t cause damage at a previous property, it’s extremely unlikely they will cause any in yours. If they haven’t lived anywhere with the animal before, you could ask the tenant to provide a reference from the vet, ensuring the animal isn’t aggressive and has all its vaccinations and flea treatments etc.
If you want to check for yourself, you could meet the tenant with their pet before you agree to them moving in as part of the pre-tenancy referencing.
Be in the know
Ask your tenant for an emergency contact, particularly if they are an individual tenant or an elderly tenant. In the event that the tenant is hospitalised, you’ll know who is supposed to look after the pet in their absence.
Arrange regular inspections
As long as they are pre-agreed and everyone is present, more regular inspections can give both you and your tenant peace of mind that the property is still in good condition. It means that any issues can be flagged before the end of the tenancy. It also reduces the chance of disputes as communication will be more regular.
Double check your insurance
Check with your current insurance provider if your policy covers accidental pet damage. Landlord’s insurance doesn’t usually cover this, so you may have to take out a different type of policy to make sure you’re covered.
For more great tips and advice, head to the learning zone on our website.
* If your property is leasehold rather than a freehold, other leaseholders will need to be asked if they are ok with a tenant keeping pets. Check to see if this is the case.
If your tenant has an assistance dog for medical reasons, you must allow them to live in the property.
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