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Pro-Pet campaigners want damage insurance as option for tenants

Momentum is building to have the Tenant Fees Act amended, allowing agents to charge tenants for damage insurance which would then encourage more landlords to allow pets.

Campaign group AdvoCATS has prepared a paper - Heads for Tails - outlining how it believes pet damage insurance could address the worries of landlords and letting agents over allowing dogs, cats and other pets into rented accommodation.

The issue has been put in the spotlight in recent months by two developments.

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One is the government’s new model tenancy agreement which includes consent for pets as the default position, meaning landlords who opt to use this type of tenancy agreement are no longer able to issue blanket bans on pets. Under the government version of a tenancy agreement, landlords will be required to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason for this. The other is Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell’s Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation and Protection Bill, a Ten Minute Rule Bill which has had its first reading in the House of Commons.

Now AdvoCATS says it believes the Tenant Fees Act of 2019 serves as a disincentive for agents and landlords to allow pets. This is because damage insurance - which would otherwise have been charged to tenants if they were allowed pets - cannot be charged under the terms of the Tenant Fees Act.

The campaign’s paper says: “Pet ownership has been shown to provide significant benefits to pet, tenant and landlord, with pet owners performing better than average on measures of physical and mental health, and tending to stay longer in tenancies than non-pet owners.”

It continues by suggesting insurance, if paid for by the tenants, could be an answer to current concerns by agents and landlords. “The onus of pet damage insurance falling on tenants, rather than landlords, would allow tenants to build up a no claims history and would avoid higher premiums for landlords in the event of a claim. A number of insurance companies have expressed interest in providing pet damage insurance products but would need the law to change for these insurance policies to be viable.”

 

 

Therefore AdvoCATS is calling for a amendment to the Tenant Fees Act; this would require only secondary legislation and thus would not take the extensive period of time that primary legislation requires.

You can see the full AdvoCATS report here.

  • Theodor Cable

    Absolutely NO dogs, cats, fish, snakes or (save humans) anything that breathes, poos, sheds hair, smells, pees, or has eyes.

    NEVER in my house whatever the Govt. contract says.

    I have always done my own contracts anyway. It is MY house....I and I only, am the one who says what can live in my property. No question and no debate.

    The End, Full Stop.

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    Could you be a little clearer there Theodor?

     
    Theodor Cable

    Well, I simply certainly could!!!!
    But the point is made, and how come these people believe they can decide what I have to do with MY property.

    Will they allow ME to rent out their car to people who trash it whilst driving it???????? And pee in it, and smoke in it and crash it, and leave rubbish in it.

    Same thing I say, and I bet I know what their answer will be.

     
  • Vilesh Rew

    The fact they are wanting "damage insurance as option for tenants" is a simple indicator as to the problem.
    To give some personal perspective, I have a dog. He's lovely and has never damaged anything and doesn't make things smell. However, EVERY tenant who enquires with a pet says that to me about their pet. Given what a % of pets do to properties, a % of those tenants are lying. Since I do not have access to a workable lie detector I am left with little choice but to assume that they are ALL lying. Now that is not my fault, as an agent. That is the fault of those with pets that cause damage. I have landlords who are happy to accept pets and landlords who aren't. I let them choose, and so it should be. If the tenant chooses to have a pet, then they need to understand the limitations it will put upon then, and accept that situation.

    Theodor Cable

    If I ever get forced to do it, then I will demand an add on to the rent payment of at least £350.00 a month.

    Then we will see how much they love Felix and Rover!!!!!!!!!

    Again - I know what their answer will be.

     
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    Campaign group AdvoCATS ......................another attempt to reduce freedoms on how people manage their properties.......... already there are reduced rental properties on the market and higher rents directly caused by this interference in the market.................... it is understandable with a socialist government all resources need to be controlled by the government, however, socialism has never ended well...........

  • James B

    this constant campaigning all year round to keep tenants happy on anything possible is getting so boring now.. these politicians are just plain desperate

    Matthew Payne

    Desperate yes because they are embarrassed that they didnt listen once again and take heed of warnings from us in the industry that the Tenant Fees Act would have many unintended consequences and changes to landlord/agent behaviour that tenants would not like, pets is just one. Trying to dig themselves out of a hole from tenant criticism, many of whom were happy with the former process, 6-8 week deposits, cleaning/checkin/checkout regime and wish the governement/lobbyists had just butted out of something that wasn't broken.

     
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    I always ask for the name of the dog or animal. If its called yapper crapper dumper or Turdie No chance . I have even had a goldfish cause damage , the large fish tank in the upstairs flat broke . An hours drive each with a dehumidifyer to sort out the problem

    Matthew Payne

    Its not just pets included John, its ones that squat and how tenants deal with them. I once had one tenants' fear of house spiders lead to a full redec of one flat. When black mould spots starting growing all over the flat, literally everywhere, in drawers, on the ceiling etc, I asked her what she may have brought into the flat to make this happen. It was late summer, condensation was no issue and it was a well ventilated ground floor flat. She said nothing, maintaining it was a damp problem. We had damp inspections done, no damp anwhere. Environmental Health out. They said nothing they could see for the landlord to do, it must be something introduced to the flat, but what, they couldn't fathom. After she left, it turned out there is an old wives tale that said spiders hate conkers and avoid them, so she had picked hundreds of them in the autumn and hidden them behind kitchen cupboards, the washing machine, behind the bath panel, everywhere. When they rot they produce spores that will infect a whole property. Luckily it was spotted before deposit release and she had fessed up in time. No conker clauses are now standard. Lets see them legislate against that as well!

     
  • Raphael Phillips

    Animals damage properties. Cat pull up the carpet and furniture will be wrecked.
    Dogs eat things and absolutely ruin gardens. When you rent it again you could have problems with allergies. No amount of cleaning will get that smell of damp dog out of your carpet.
    Whilst I recognise people want to pets. I am inclined to charge up to £50 a week more.
    They should never be forced on the landlord. It's up to them it's their property.

  • jeremy clarke

    We insist on insurance but, once the tenants are in and if they choose to stop paying premiums or they cancel the policy, what can we do? Nothing! Easier to just say no.
    Damage is one thing but I'm sure that it won't cover ongoing issues such as smell, dormant fleas or allergies. These organisations need to get real whilst there is still a PRS!

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    Jeremy - you can't insist on tenants taking out insurance as it would be in contravention of their lawful rights. Is this Belvoir policy because Dorian needs to remove it if it is?

     
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    The only way insurance will work is if the LL takes it out and the tenant pays it as an extra above their rent. Even with this in place I would not want pets - who wants to fight with another insurance company o get what is due? What is really needed is the ability to take a bigger deposit.

    Funny how the tenant fees act is now being seen as working against tenants!

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