Pets: Yes, No or Obliged to?
Posted on 8th September 2018 at 10:47
Opinions vary from landlord to landlord whether allowing tenants to keep pets is a good thing or not. If you’re currently sitting on the fence, you might be swayed by the fact that around three quarters of pet owners currently have trouble finding accommodation.
According to some recent news, if Labour get in at the next election they have plans to make it a right for tenants to own a pet. Many landlords may like to take that into account when considering the type of rental operation, they want to run.
The Pros of Renting to Pet Owners
By pets, most people tend to mean cats or dogs. When you realise that 26% of people own a dog in the UK, you can see the immediate impact it has when related to tenants. If you are banning pets, in effect, you could be excluding a significant portion of the rental population.
When your buy to rent is a HMO, of course, you’re probably right to include a caveat that says no pets allowed. Should you be renting a property to someone with a disability who needs a guide dog to support them, you have no choice but to allow their pet to stay and most landlords have no problem with this. If you’re renting out to a family in a house, you could increase your chances of finding a long term, reliable tenant if you opt for one that has a dog or a cat.
Tenants who have been able to find a landlord that takes pets may think themselves pretty lucky considering the lack of rental properties in this category. That could mean they pay special attention to maintaining your property from the outset and are fixing to stay around for the long term. Dogs can also be a good form of security, protecting the home.
The Downside of Renting to Pet Owners
There are a variety of disadvantages to letting tenants who have pets in your property. They could cause damage or infest the carpet and furniture with fleas, for instance. A neglected dog may smell and can be disturbing, barking while the owner is out and generally causing a nuisance. You may also be left with extra expenses for cleaning the property when the tenant moves out.
Dogs and cats aren’t the only animals that your tenants might want to keep. Birds and guinea pigs are also popular pets and there is a growing attraction for exotic breeds like snakes and lizards.
Type of Property
A lot will depend on the type of property that you are renting out. A house with a garden is more suitable for a dog or cat than a one bedroom flat. If your property is leasehold, you’ll need to check the agreement to make sure that pets are allowed. A freehold doesn’t come with any such restrictions.
If you’re property has lots of neighbours close by and there is an issue with the dog barking, it can cause complaints. New cats can often end up in fights with local moggies as they sort out their territory.
Introducing a Pet Clause
To cover yourself, you may want to set some simple guidelines if you are going to allow pets in your rental property. This can be added as a clause to the rental agreement and include an undertaking to remedy any damage that has been caused by the pet. You might want to ensure the animal’s welfare and insist that the owner be registered with a local vet. You could insist on a deposit to help with cleaning the property after the tenant and their pet has vacated.
Whether you accept tenants who have pets or not often comes down to personal preference. The good news is that responsible pet owners tend also to be reliable tenants and that’s certainly something you should consider carefully.
If you would like any advice on renting your property to tenants with pets, please contact us on 01604 644 449.
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