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Are you open to lets with pets?

29 June 2021 4164 Views
Are you open to lets with pets?

The Dogs Trust campaign ‘lets with pets’ states: “Landlords and letting agencies who exclude pet owners from their properties are missing out on a large share of the rental market, as almost half of households in the UK currently own a pet.

But if one of your tenants asks for permission to keep a pet in the property, do you know how you’ll react?

The benefits of permitting pets

Allowing pets in your property may seem like a risk but permitting tenants to keep a pet can set you apart from other landlords. It may improve your relationship with your current tenants, and even add a premium to the rental value you can achieve.

According to The Dogs Trust, over half of all households owns a pet. This means by excluding pets, you’re missing out on a huge part of the rental market. Allowing pets can increase the demand for your property, and attract responsible tenants looking for a long term let.

  •  Tenants may stay longer

Once a tenant finds the holy grail of a tenancy that allows a four-legged friend, they are far less likely to leave it.

  • Rents can be more profitable

Post tenant fee ban, it’s no longer possible to charge an additional “pet deposit”. However, most tenants will be willing to increase the rent by a small amount to account for additional wear and tear.

  • Pet owners can be more responsible

For most people, a pet is like a member of the family and they take their ownership very seriously. To have a pet you need commitment, a regular income and a responsible nature – all things you would list when you think about a desirable tenant.

It’s also good for your tenants’ wellbeing and happiness. Having a pet can help them increase exercise, provide companionship, and reduce anxiety levels.

If you’re concerned a pet in the property might unleash potential problems, we’re here to help you with some practical points to help make your lets with pets a success.

1. Know the law

If your property is leasehold, you'll need to ask other leaseholders if they're ok with pets. Check to see if this is the case. Even if you want to accommodate your tenant’s wishes, you might not be able to. However, if your tenant needs an assistance dog, you must allow them to live in the property.

2. Double check your insurance

Ask your current insurance provider if your policy covers accidental pet damage. Landlord insurance doesnt usually have this feature as standard. You might need a different type of policy to make sure you're covered. 

3. Get your terms down in writing

Make sure your boundaries are set out in writing. Whether you don’t want any animals bred in the property, or you only want the pet you agreed to and no more. Make these clear, concise and share them with your tenant on a document you can both sign and keep.

4. Ask for a pet reference if possible

If your tenant is moving from one house to another, it could be a good idea to ask them to provide a reference from the previous landlord. If the animal was well behaved and didn’t cause damage at a previous property, it’s extremely unlikely they will cause any in yours. If they haven’t lived anywhere with the animal before, you could ask the tenant to provide a reference from the vet, ensuring the animal isn’t aggressive and has all its vaccinations and flea treatments etc.

If you want to check for yourself, you could meet the tenant with their pet before you agree to them moving in as part of the pre-tenancy referencing.

5. Arrange regular inspections

As long as they are pre-agreed and everyone is present, more regular inspections can give both you and your tenant peace of mind that the property is still in good condition. It means that any issues can be flagged before the end of the tenancy. It also reduces the chance of disputes as communication will be more regular.

If you do agree to your tenant having a puppy, the Kennel Club has some great advice. Their campaign #bepuppywise gives great advice, from how to buy a puppy to how to train a pet.

About The DPS

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