Lets with Pets: What do Landlords and Agents need to Look Out For?

Posted on February 10th, 2021.

The demand for rental homes from tenants with pets is rising. The Government intends to pass  new legislation banning Landlords from stopping tenants keeping pets in rental homes. Landlords and their Agents need to be diligent in identifying the damage caused by pets.

Over recent months there has been cross-party support for making  it easier for tenants to keep pets in rental properties.

The Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill, which proposes to make it a right for tenants to have domestic animals in rental properties is now at the stage of its second reading.

In January, the Government had issued its model tenancy agreement with provisions for tenants to keep “well behaved pets” on the premises.

Speaking with my own Inventory service providers, they advised that knowing what damage to look for, Landlords and Agents can ensure repairs are made before problems escalate while making relevant deductions from tenants’ deposits.

What are the most common types of damage caused by pets?

Apart from the need for additional cleaning and getting rid of pet odours, there are a number of specific issues to look out for if tenants have pets.

These include claw marks on doors, cat flaps, torn or frayed carpets and the same on upholstery material if the home was offered furnished.

Other common issues are pet urine, apart from the smell, it causes damage to carpet and if neglected can seep through to the underlay, making the odours hard to banish. Pet hairs in carpets are another obvious issue and Inventory clerks often find the same on curtains and blinds.

As the demand for rental homes form tenants with pets increases there are several measures Landlords and Agents need to have in place in order manage things effectively.

In general tenants with pets often struggle to find Landlords or Agents that will consider them. As a knock-on effect, once accepted, they often stay in occupation for the long term and are generally willing to pay a premium rent. For Landlords, this has a strengthening effect on yields and no voids.

However, effective hands-on management is crucial, otherwise Landlords could foot the bill for thousands of pounds in repairs and dilapidations. Currently, there are no rules to stop Landlords from banning pets and neither are they obliged to use the Government’s model tenancy agreements.

As things stand, the Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill  is at the stage of Second reading. What’s clear is that the blanket ban on pets will be abolished, with Government favouring pet-owning tenants.

 

With this is mind, its time for us to prepare for a more pet-friendly Private Rented Sector. This will mean Landlords will need to have suitable insurance, regular property inspections and thorough inventory reports with plenty of photos. The importance of provisions in the tenancy agreement with well written clauses mustn’t be overlooked.

Thorough record keeping and evidence of damage will make it far easier to recoup the costs for damage caused by pets.

Due to the Tenant Fees Act (2019) there is currently no option to charge higher deposits to tenants with pets. Having a set of measures and procedures in place is vital to protecting your Investment form the damage that can be caused by pets.

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