Many landlords have a fear of damage, infestations, and pet related costs which seem more hassle than they’re worth.
But, people love their pets!
So, landlords who put a blanket ban on pets are cutting off a large section of the market.
A BBC report found that only 7% of landlords will offer accommodation to those tenants with pets. The Government are trying to help those renters by introducing a new model tenancy agreement that allows renters to seek consent for pets as a default, requiring the landlord to provide written refusal within 28 days, providing good reasons for their refusal.
It’s not a legal requirement to use the model tenancy agreement, but there is a drive in parliament to make these changes a legal requirement.
As a letting agent, its all about trying to strike the right balance of protecting the landlord from any costs associated with allowing pets in the home, and not excluding potential tenants because they have a pet.
Although agents and landlords cannot ask for a higher deposit (due to the Tenant Fee Act 2019*) there are many tenants who are prepared to pay a higher rent to secure a home.
There are other measures that can be put in place too:
- Requiring pet insurance: This can cover accidental property damage.
- Landlord references: Confirm from previous landlords the acceptable behaviour of the animal and the tenant as a courteous pet owner.
- Proof of vaccinations: This helps prevent flea infestations and ensures the good health of the pet.
- Additional property inspections can be further reassurance for the landlord that the property is in good shape.
- Professional end of tenancy cleans are regularly used to ensure there are no lingering pet hair or smells.
Here are some of the Pros’ to being a pet friendly landlord.
More choice of tenant. By allowing pets into your property, you open the door to a far greater number of potential tenants. To some landlords, this makes clear business sense.
Long term tenants. Tenants with pets know it’s difficult to find accommodation, so they’re more likely to want a long term let, and settle in the property, meaning less void periods, and less changing contracts.
Higher rents can ensure that any additional wear and tear is already accounted for. Increasing the rent from £600 to £650 per month for example is a reasonable decision.
Responsible tenants. Tenants with pets are generally more settled in life, due to the responsibility that comes with pet ownership. They know how difficult it can be to find a home, and are more likely to respect your property because of this.
Reduced void periods. A pet friendly property is likely to let out quicker than one that isn’t. There is an abundance of tenants with pets out there looking for a home, and a lack of rental properties who allow them. Demand for your property will be high.
- Are you actually allowed to accept pets in your property? Some leasehold properties may have a ban on pets, so check yours. It can be changed, so may be worth looking into if it’s something you really want to move forward with.
- You can also ask to meet the pet first. It’s not unusual for some landlords to want to meet their prospective tenants, so why not the pet too?
- Set up good communication from the start. Clearly lay down what you expect with regards to the pet, and make sure these rules are included in the tenancy agreement.
- Is the property suited to a pet? Think about access to outside space, and the size of the property itself.
- Make sure you get a professional inventory. It will be more important than ever.
*Security deposits are capped at five weeks’ rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000 and six weeks’ rent where the annual rent is £50,000 or more.