Renting to Pet Owners
As landlords in the private sector rental sector (PRS) are increasingly asked to house council tenants and those looking for social housing, it is becoming increasingly difficult to refuse pets.
Not only that, but Britain is a nation of pet lovers and with lockdown many more of us went out and bought a dog or cat. In fact, even way back in 2019, a YouGov poll showed that 50% of adults owned a pet. That doesn’t necessarily mean a big pet such as a dog or cat, but includes guinea pigs, rats and birds. And, of course, many of these will already be tenants in the PRS.
Despite this though, surveys have been carried out that show only around 4% of landlord adverts for tenants say that pets are welcome. Why is this? Well, understandably, many landlords don’t like the idea of their investment property’s skirting boards being chewed by a puppy or their fabric sofa being ripped by a cat’s claws. Who would?
Then there is the question of the neighbours. Constant barking of your tenant’s dog can lead to complaints of anti-social behaviour, while cat pee on the communal stairs isn’t exactly a pleasant odour and could lead to more angry neighbours.
Should I Rent to Pet Owners?
But, there is plenty of reasons to be in favour of tenants with pets too. And, in fact, here are three top reasons to welcome pets in your rented property:
Far more tenants will be interested in looking at your property if you say you are fine about pets. All those tenants with a pet who would instantly dismiss your advert, for starters. This means that your property will probably get let sooner rather than later, meaning a reduction in void periods (a blessing to all landlords).
Tenants will be far more likely to keep renting your flat if you let them keep their pet. That’s because, despite an increase in the number of people living in the UK with a pet, the number of Private Rental Sector (PRS) properties advertising as ‘pet friendly’ hasn’t risen in response. Again, having tenants willing to stay for longer and perhaps take out a year’s or three-year lease, means fewer void periods for you and less admin as a result.
Hard to Evict
If a tenant bought a pet after moving in then it can be difficult to evict them if the pet hasn’t caused any damage and the tenant continues to pay her or his rent on time. That’s because you wouldn’t have a good reason for repossession in the eyes of the court.
Should You Accept Pets in a Rental Property?
It’s not unreasonable of you, as a landlord, asking to meet with your prospective tenant’s pet beforehand. That way you will get a good idea of whether or not you think the pet will be trouble. Just make sure you meet the pet in the property where the tenant is already residing. That way you can check for any chewed furniture etc.
Before deciding, you could also ask the tenant for a reference from a previous landlord when the pet was also there under his or her roof.
You could also put in a pet clause in the Tenancy Agreement which states that any new pets introduced must first have your written permission. That way if your tenant did bring in another pet he or she would be breaking the Tenancy Agreement and, as a result, prove easier to evict.
Just make sure the clause also specifies your permission will not be unreasonably withheld. If you don’t do this you could be going against the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
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