Who doesn’t love a furry friend? (or scaly) Well, some landlords might not! Pet ownership (especially dogs) has increased this year in 2020, largely due to the lockdown and more and more people working from home. It is estimated that 26% of all households have a dog alone and that’s not including cat owners and those with other types of pet. If you don’t allow pets could you be excluding a huge percentage of your potential tenant market? Or is allowing pets far too risky?
The obvious worry for landlords permitting tenants to have pets, is potential damage to the property. It’s certainly true that some pets cause damage, such as scratching, chewing, soiling carpets and furniture and that’s not to mention the smells and hair. Most people who’ve had a puppy have experienced their furry friend causing some sort of damage to their home. In the past, we were able to take a higher deposit for those with pets, but with the Tenant Fee Ban, and with deposits now being capped at 5 weeks, this is no longer permitted. I do feel that the Government perhaps overlooked this issue, as I feel it’s made it harder for tenants with pets to find somewhere to rent. Instead of considering a tenant with a pet and accepting a higher deposit, some landlords are just saying “no”.
As well as potential damage, a pet (most likely a dog) could cause disruption for the neighbours. When left alone for long periods of time, some dogs can bark excessively, which could be incredibly frustrating for a neighbour to listen to all day.
But are all pets this disruptive and damaging? Are all pet owners irresponsible? In my opinion, the answer is certainly no. Not all pets cause damage to properties and my advice is to assess the situation on a case by case basis. Having a blanket “no pets” rule, is very short-sighted and you could be missing out on a great new tenant. With a huge % of people owning a pet, you could really narrow your market of potential tenants, and there will undoubtedly be good tenants within that group that you could miss out on. Some of my best ever tenants have owned pets, but I do advise you proceed with caution. Consider the type of pet and the breed of pet first. For example, there are some breeds of dog now that shed little or no hair, and are hypo-allergenic. A good example of this is the Cockerpoo, a breed that’s popularity has soared in recent years. Another breed may have a typically smellier coat, and may shed much more hair so you may want to take that in to account. Also consider the number of pets – is it just one cat? Or does the potential tenant have three large dogs and two cats? I would advise meeting the dog if possible on the viewing, as you can get an idea of what they’re like first. For example, one of our best tenants had a Cockerpoo dog. On the viewing, the tenant told the dog to “sit and stay” at the bottom of the stairs, and we completed the whole viewing with the dog sat perfectly still where the owner had left it. I had a good feeling that this was a well-behaved, well trained dog with a responsible owner. As I suspected, the property was always immaculate and dare I say it, even cleaner when she moved out than when she moved in. If a tenant has a 19 year old cat that sleeps all day, you’re probably ok there too.
For added protection, you can write in a special clause in to the tenancy agreement. I always add a “pet clause” which stipulates certain conditions, such as not leaving a dog alone for long periods of time and that they have to have carpets professionally cleaned on leaving the property, as well as the property itself. There are other conditions added too, all giving the landlord some degree of protection and at least showing the tenant that you have high expectations of them.
In a nutshell, I do recommend at least considering a tenant with a pet. Definitely be picky, definitely act with caution, but don’t automatically dismiss a tenant with a pet. Some of my best tenants have had pets, and on inspecting the property, you wouldn’t even know there was an animal living in the property. With so many good tenants out there who happen to be pet owners, it’s certainly something you should keep an open mind about.
If you have any more questions regarding this, please feel free to get in touch. Angela – 01279 940840 /firstname.lastname@example.org
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