Should Landlords allow pets in a rental property?

Times are changing, and the modern family is no longer simply made up of parents and their 2.5 children. Now more than ever, pets are widely considered to be part of the family. Because of this, we often see high demand for those few properties that will allow for the addition of a furry friend. In fact, it’s estimated that around 40% of households now own a pet. So are you missing out by not considering this?

Generally, allowing pets in a rental property will boil down to the landlord’s attitude to animals. Some may allow smaller caged animals (rabbits, hamsters etc) but may be fearful of cats and dogs. We’ve all heard the horror stories, and it can be said that pets are likely to warrant more wear and tear to a property. But couldn’t the same also be said for large families?

Read on as we consider the pro’s and con’s of allowing pets in a rental property.

 

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The benefits of allowing pets in a rental property

First and foremost, this opens up the rental market to a wider variety of tenants. It could also speed up the letting of a property. Renters with pets are likely to spend a much longer period of time trying to obtain a property, as landlords that will allow pets can be few and far between. Therefore, a property that does accept pets is likely to be highly sought after and in higher demand. As these properties are low in quantity, tenants with pets will often not want to jeopardise their tenancy and are likely to stay for longer. They will often do all they can to be the perfect tenant and this is often picked up on during inspections.

The Negatives of allowing pets in a rental property

The obvious concern with accepting pets in a private rented property is the possibility of damage. This could be scratches to wood work or décor and staining or smells to carpets. Even very well-trained pets can have the odd accident. When it comes to dogs, landlords might wish to consider that they may bark from time to time, which could impact on the neighbours. Another negative to consider is that in some cases, pets can carry fleas. Not only this, their dander can remain in the property making it potentially unsuitable for a future tenant that may have a pet allergy.

Advice on accepting pets in a rental property

It is advisable for any landlord to conduct their own research in regards to a prospective tenant’s pet. A reference from a previous landlord would be ideal. They would be able to advise on the behaviour of the animal throughout the tenancy and if any damage was reported. If possible, it would also be advisable to meet the pet to judge behaviour and temperament in their current home. This also provides an opportunity to take a look at the current residence and assess for damages or smells.

Consider the suitability of that pet for a rented property. A large dog would not necessarily be suitable for a small one bedroom flat and would not appreciate being cooped up in a small space. This in turn could have negative consequences.

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Summary

Many landlords would consider a pet by taking an additional deposit, but be aware that deposits are currently capped at the equivalent of 5 weeks rent.  Taking more than this amount would be unlawful. Another alternative would be to agree to a slightly higher rental figure. This additional income could in turn be saved up to allow for any minor remedial works at the end of the tenancy.

It has to be said that we have seen properties with pets that are kept spotless. Conversely, we’ve seen properties without pets and they haven’t been looked after at all. There really is no hard or fast rule.

 

In summary, there is no reason why a prospective tenant with a pet could not prove to be an excellent tenant after moving in. By considering pets, landlords are widening their applicant pool, are likely to let their property quicker, and those lucky tenants that are accepted are likely to stay for longer. Not only this, they will often treat the property as if it’s their own too.

What are your thoughts on taking pets? Let us know by sending an email to enquiries@slaterandbrandley.co.uk or by leaving a comment below.