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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Pets Mean Premiums - animals are good news, insists industry group

The private rental sector should embrace the idea of tenants with pets and not object to the prospect.

That’s the view of The Deposit Protection Service which has issued new guidelines for agents and landlords to follow as a result of the surge in pet ownership during lockdown.

According to the Kennel Club, two out of five new puppy owners this summer bought their pet as a ‘Covid companion’, and two thirds of new dog owners agreed their pet was a lifeline during lockdown.

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In addition, some 53 per cent of private tenants surveyed by YouGov for Mars Petcare agreed they would consider a longer tenancy if their landlord supported pet ownership.

Now the DPS has issued seven rules to make the idea of pets more appealing to agents and landlords as well as renters.

“Being able to accommodate their pet will be a decisive factor when tenants consider where to live, and landlords who allow domestic animals may see increased demand for longer tenancies” insists Matt Trevett, managing director at The DPS. 

“Landlords should as ever ensure the paperwork reflects any changes to the terms of the tenancy and be clear about any rules applying to new pets. Tenants should also understand and respect any obligations that come with their new companions and consider any changes that are necessary to their tenancy agreements to reduce the chances of issues when they move out.”

The seven rules are: 

1. Pets can mean premiums: “Many tenants who would like to change their tenancy to allow them to keep a pet expect a proportionate increase in the cost of their accommodation, and landlords will want to ensure that the price a renter pays reflects the nature of their tenancy. However, landlords cannot ask for a separate deposit to cover pet damage” says the DPS.

2. Some pets are non-negotiable: “If a tenant has a disability and requires an assistance dog, a landlord must enable them to have the animal inside the property.”

3. Get the right insurance: “Landlords should check that their property’s insurance policy includes accidental pet damage, a feature that is not always standard. Landlords may need to alter or find a new policy to ensure coverage.”

4. Put ‘pet rules’ in writing: “Landlords should set out in writing any limits on pet ownership at the property, including the type/number of pet(s) allowed and whether the tenant can or cannot breed the animal on site. Landlords should share the document with the tenant and both sides should sign it and keep a copy in case there are disputes or damage at a later stage.”

5. Ask for a pet reference: “A reference from the previous landlord can show how well-behaved a tenant’s pet is. If the tenant hasn’t lived with the animal before, asking for a vet’s reference can help landlords understand whether the animal is aggressive or has received its vaccinations and flea treatments. Landlords can also ask to meet the tenant with their pet (socially distanced) as part of the pre-tenancy checking process.”

6. Emergency contact: “Tenants who live alone or are elderly and who become ill or have to go into hospital can provide a landlord with an emergency contact to ensure somebody will look after their pet. Landlords can also ask for this information during the reference checking process.”

7. Arrange regular inspections: “Landlords and tenants should agree regular inspections to assess and discuss the condition of the property, which can reduce the chances of a dispute about any pet-related damage at the end of the tenancy.”

  • Roger  Mellie

    It's hard to rent a property when it smells of dog. Equally if 'said' pet chews and scratches the furniture a landlord cannot claim for betterment and so would need to replace a sofa for instance....you see where I'm going with this.
    I'm surprised the DPS would come up with such nonsense without considering the consequences of the law around deposits. Seems pretty dumb to me.

  • Neil Moores

    We accept pets when we consider the property suitable, which normally means that they must have some outside space. we also charge a premium on the rent as we know that we may well have flea treatments to arrange down the line, with a property which might be uninhabitable for a few weeks (even longer now as the modern flea treatments take much longer before they are totally effective). Obviously the premium we charge will no doubt be banned at some point when an ill advised future government (aren't they all?) decides to ban these charges as they are unfair to pet owners, leaving pet owners with nowhere to live.

    Roger  Mellie

    How is taking a chance of leaving a property uninhabitable for a few weeks doing your landlord a favour?

     
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    Absolutely no way does an animal of any make get allowed to be in any of my properties.....Even if the tenant paid me £50,000 or more each year. And I don't care about any Govt. .Local Authority interventions and laws, I will 120% never allow it. Ever, ever, ever.

    I decide who and what lives in my properties, not any 3rd party dictates that to me.

    Nothing is worse than animal smells, hairs, pi*s, sh*t, sick, destruction and chewed wood on doors and windows.

    It takes too much energy, effort, cost, frustration and emotions to get it fixed and resolved and suitable for a new tenant.

  • Matthew Payne

    A pet reference? Landlords have a socially distanced meeting with a pet as part of a pre tenancy checking process? To do what exactly? There is no due dilligence that can be done to establish how well behaved a pet is or how caring an owner is, and its missing the point, poor behaving pets arent the issue, and even if they were I'm not sure what the agenda for such a meeting would be to check this.

    Animals are animals the world over and behave like animals, and you either accept them or you dont. Lets not try and pretend there is a screening process that can paper over the huge crack the government has opened up with capping deposits and removing tenant cleaning obligations. I have never been into a dog owners house, mine included, where there isnt the obvious additional dog damage to the fabric of the property to one degree or another whether door frames, wooden flooring, carpets, sofas, window sills, lawns etc and the inevitable whiff of dog. Thats the nature of the beast. Meeting it or the owner wont stop it behaving like a dog during the tenancy, and a 5 week deposit, covers little as it is, let alone redecorating and steam cleaning/replacing carpets etc. Even a well behaved dog with a caring owner leaves behind hundreds of pounds of minor decorating and cleaning related dilpidations as 99% of exiting tenants wont consider the need or expense to make the property allergy safe for new the incoming tenants or are "dog blind" as many are, and so so caught up in their affection for their animal they can't see whats in front of their face.

    If the DPS or anyone else want to underwrite their "guidance" with cold hard cash, as landlords used to be able to do with 8 or 10 week deposits and contractual steam cleaning, then perhaps this constant lobbying might start to get a few more listeners, otherwise, lobby the government, it's they who have created the problem.

  • icon

    “Landlords should check that their property’s insurance policy includes accidental pet damage, a feature that is not always standard.........."
    When a tenant leaves and a claim is made it's traditional for insurance companies to increase the next due payment for cover. Make a further claim and the policy starts to get exclusion clauses added.
    The DPS in their limited wisdom have not thought that one through. It's hard enough to get them to agree damages of a more normal type and I bet pet damage will soon be excluded as a valid claim on a tenant's deposit based on the landlord should have got pet damage cover.
    @David Crisp is spot on with his comments, got a pet - no tenancy granted.

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    I think it's fair to say the chances of landlords accepting pets dramatically reduced when the gov't decided it would be a good idea to cap deposits.....

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