One of the industry’s leading suppliers says the controversy over pets in private rental properties could be defused relatively easily.
Inventory management firm No Letting Go says a well-considered pet clause in a tenant’s contract should include specifics such as what pets a landlord will allow and a clear record of identification, licenses and vaccinations.
The issue has hit the headlines recently thanks to the revised model tenancy agreement issued by the government, and claims by some MPs that it is unfair and unhealthy for tenants to be denied the companionship of pets.
No Letting Go - which has been completing inventories and check-outs for landlords, agents and property management companies for over 15 years - says it has seen an increase of check-out issues related to pets.
These have included problems like pet odours, carpet and curtain fraying, skirting board damage, damage to doors from unauthorised cat flaps, and gardens excessively worn due to dogs being kept.
It warns that the likelihood of these issues being addressed by the tenant before leaving is fairly low, which puts the emphasis on ensuring good evidence is provided by the agent or landlord.
“We are noticing and recording an increase in pet-related issues including excessive to fair wear and tear at check out, where the deposit schemes aren’t” according to No Letting Go chief executive Nick Lyons.
“It is likely that these issues are being negotiated before reaching adjudication or that the evidence isn’t strong enough to support a claim and landlords lose out, but there is certainly an increase. The one thing it has highlighted is that it is more important than ever that inventory companies or employees who complete the check-outs are much more vigilant with these issues.”
Lyons continues: “In the current market, with more people at home, the demand for a furry friend remains very high. As has been widely written about, the demand for pets during Covid went through the roof, in particular among the younger generations who are far more likely to rent.
“Many tenants are likely to have got pets without permission (knowingly or not) from their landlord. As a result, I anticipate we will be seeing many check-outs over the next few years having pet-related dilapidations.
“Damage should be clearly defined in writing with supporting pictures. Things like cleanliness, including signs of animal hairs as well as excessive wear and tear, along with strong odours and overworn/damaged gardens, should also be noted down.
“Using professional independent inventory management companies will prove to be a godsend as the demand for pets increases and pressure continues to grow on landlords to allow pets as a default right.”