Is It Time to Accept Tenants With Pets?

We’re not advocating all landlords should suddenly start becoming pet lovers, but rather that they might be a little easier on prospective tenants who have a cat, dog, budgie, rabbit, guinea pig etc. 

The reason we say this is that a recent survey of 20,000 tenants found that 44 per cent of them had a clause in their Tenancy Agreement which banned them from keeping one. The survey, carried out by a national UK letting company also found that 33% of tenants didn’t want a pet anyway. Only 9% of tenants had a dog and a similar number had cats. A total of 2% had both dogs and cats while 3% had other animals. 

And it’s no wonder the number of tenants with pets was so low. The survey also found that more than half – 57% – of landlords said they would turn away a tenant who had a pet. Only 26% of landlords said they would be ok with a tenant and pet. A total of 11% of landlords said they’d be fine with a cat and 6% said they’d agree to a tenant moving in with a dog. 

Interestingly, another survey of 11,000 tenants (this time by the BBC), found that landlords were more likely to let their property to a tenant with a pet than they were to a tenant on benefits. When asked the question if they’d rent to someone on benefits 2% said they would, compared to 4% who said they’d rent to a tenant with a dog or cat! 

Meanwhile, back to just pets, it’s clear from the above statistics that landlords who do advertise that they are fine with a tenant and pet will be able to choose from a much bigger pool of potential tenants.  

That’s because by pro-actively advertising for tenants with pets (ie saying pets are welcome) then you receive far more tenant applicants than normal. It will be one of only a handful of adverts from hundreds that will stand out to a fairly large amount of people with pets out there looking to rent. 

Pros and Cons of Taking on a Tenant With a Pet

  • Your tenant will be happier, content and therefore more likely to take a longer lease next time round 
  • On a similar note there’s less likelihood of void periods 

Cons of Allowing Tenants to Keep a Pet

  • Pets can cause particular odours in a property 
  • A dog barking constantly could annoy the neighbours 
  • Dogs and cats can scratch floorboards and furniture 
  • Cats can rip fabric sofas and other items such as curtains and cushions 

How to Prepare for Taking on a Tenant With a Pet

Before deciding whether or not you will allow a certain tenant to keep a pet in your property it’s a good idea to meet that pet first. Especially in the case of a dog, you should get a good idea of what they’ll behave like in your flat. Older dogs tend not to chew whereas with puppies it’s a very different story… 

If the prospective tenant has had the pet the for a number of years then it’s not a bad idea to contact their previous landlord from their references, to ask if they had any problems with the dog or cat etc. 

Have we persuaded you yet that it’s actually not a bad idea to take on a tenant with a pet? If you’re still worried about it then you could consider taking out insurance to cover any potential damage to your property. Hopefully though, if you choose wisely enough, then it won’t come to that.

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