Should tenants be allowed to keep pets?
by Rizwan Osman on 3rd June 2019
Secret Life of Pets 2, currently in cinemas, explores what pampered pooches and felines might get up to when their owners are at work. If you’re a landlord, should you be concerned about the havoc pets might wreak on your property? Or is accommodating pets a price worth paying for happy tenants who’ll stay long-term?
Surveys show that around 70% of landlords don’t allow pets. Reasons cited include concern about damage, smells and noise, as well as a belief that some properties just aren’t suitable. In addition, clauses disallowing pets are often written into tenancy agreements as a default.
If you’re wondering whether to include a no-pets clause in your tenancy agreement or considering a request from a prospective tenant with a cat or dog, it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons first. In the end it will probably be a personal decision; if you’re an animal lover, you might find it difficult to turn away a tenant’s furry friend. If you can’t stand them, it’s probably a no-brainer.
It’s also worth considering what type of pet you’d be comfortable with and whether it is practical in the space – a hamster in a studio flat is quite a different prospect from a great Dane. We look at both sides of the argument.
Why you might say yes to pets
1 – to attract more prospective tenants
People love their cats and dogs, and some will have one already, so allowing pets can boost interest in your rental property and widen your pool of prospective tenants.
2 – to keep your tenants for longer
With only a minority of landlords accepting pets, your tenants will have a big incentive to stay in your property, reducing the likelihood of void periods. They’ll probably feel more well-disposed to you too.
3 – the pet-friendly premium
Again, scarcity of suitable properties means you’re offering something over and above the competition, so you may be able to reflect this in the rent you charge.
4 – to help an animal out
According to the charity Cats Protection, a fifth of the animals brought to its rehoming centres are put up for adoption because of clauses in tenancy agreements. Allowing pets could save an animal from this uncertain fate and take the pressure off rescue centres too.
Why you might think again about pets in your property
- There’s no denying that pets, especially puppies and kittens, can be destructive to furniture and flooring.
- They can be smelly too, pushing up your post-tenancy cleaning bills and potentially putting off future tenants.
- Dogs that are noisy or badly behaved can cause a nuisance to neighbours.
- Once a pet has been kept in the property, it may be difficult to rent it out to people with allergies.
- Animals can carry fleas and mites, which can infest your furniture and carpets.
Tips for welcoming pets to your rental property
If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of allowing pets and decided to go ahead, these are some of the things to think about:
- Always put ‘pets considered’ in your listing rather than ‘pets allowed’, it leaves the final decision in your hands.
- If your property is leasehold, check your lease to make sure that pets are permitted.
- Specify which types of pets you’ll consider – remember the hamster v great dane example.
- Ask to meet the pet before the tenancy agreement is signed, it will give you some idea of how well trained it is.
- It’s even more important to be meticulous in drawing up your inventory and taking photos of the condition of furniture and fittings, so you are covered for any damage.
- Add a pet clause to the tenancy agreement setting out the rules regarding pets and make sure your tenant understands what they are signing up to.
- You may be able to charge an additional payment or deposit to cover you for any extra cleaning or infestation treatment. Take advice from your lettings agent on this to avoid falling foul of new rules on tenancy fees. Any additional deposit will need to be protected in the same way as the main one.
- Regular inspections of the property are important, remember to give at least 24 hours’ notice.
- You may need to inform your insurers that you’re letting the property to a tenant with pets – contact them for advice first.
Keen to encourage more landlords to allow pets, Cats Protection has advice for anyone wishing to give it a go in a dedicated an area of its website for ‘purr-fect landlords’.
If you have a property to let, contact us for advice on any aspect of being a landlord and to find out how we can help.