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More tenants with dogs means massive deposit premiums

A London letting agency says a huge rise in the number of tenants with dogs, combined with a lack of supply of flats whose head-leases allow pets, is resulting in huge price premiums on deposits.

Some central London properties which allow dogs now require deposits of up  £25,000 or even more claims the agency, E J Harris. 

Ten years ago the firm says none of its London tenants had dogs. Five years ago just two per cent of the firm’s tenants were dog owners; three years ago the figure rose to five per cent; two years ago it hit 10 and then last year it rose to 20 per cent.

This year 30 per cent of all tenants seeking a London flat to let are dog owners, the agency claims. It says its findings are backed up by data from pet food firms which reflect a similar surge in dog ownership across the country. 

The agency says 40 per cent of all Prime Central London flats do not allow dogs because it is written into the head lease that pets are disqualified. This growing imbalance between demand and supply of pet-friendly apartments has led to significant price premiums being commanded and paid on deposits for flats where the head lease allows for pets. 

The higher deposits for dog-owning tenants are also to cover any unforeseen damage to the property caused by the pets.

The agency claims that for a one bedroom flat in central London available to rent for £500 per week (where the head lease allows for pets), the typical non-pet six week deposit is £3,000, whereas a dog owning tenant would be asked to pay £5,000.  

For a two bedroom apartment let for £1,000 per week, the average deposit is £5,000, compared to £10,000, for a dog owning tenant.                      

For a three bedroom flat for let at £2,500 per week the deposit for a dog-owning tenant rises to £25,000 or more, compared to a deposit of just £15,000 for a pet-free tenant. 

In addition to a premium on their deposit, E J Harris says that the majority of London landlords who allow pets also include a professional cleaning clause in the tenancy agreement that requires pet owning tenants to make an extra, non-refundable payment at the start of the tenancy in order to cover the costs of sanitation and professional cleaning when the tenants move out (this is sometimes up to several hundred pounds, depending on the size and luxury of the property).

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    Perhaps they are not aware of key legislation surrounding deposits?
    The amount of the deposit should be a maximum of two months’ rent. If the deposit is more than this amount it could in theory count as a premium and may give the tenant an automatic right to assign the lease without the landlord’s consent.

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    No dog should have to live in a flat - it is not fair to the dog - in fact it could be cruel? Where is the NSPCA on this? 


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