Tenants with Pets… Could they be a benefit to landlords?
According to the Ministry of Housing only 7% of landlords currently advertise their properties as being suitable for pets, however, the number of tenants with pets appears to be increasing year on year and with the changes that were brought in by the Tenant Fee Act last year, the question of whether to allow tenants with pets to rent your property is now more pertinent than ever before. At RF&O we are constantly being asked by prospective tenants whether the properties that we have for rent will allow pets.
The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick has called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes and has said that a total ban on renters with pets should only be implemented where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. It appears that the government is also planning to overhaul the model tenancy contract to make it easier for tenants to have pets.
Under the Tenant Fees Act, landlords and letting agents are no longer able to take a higher Deposit for tenants with pets but instead some have begun to set the rent of the tenancy at a higher level to cover any wear and tear that a pet may cause.
The benefits of allowing pets into a property include appealing to a wider range of tenants and there is some evidence to suggest that tenants with pets often stay in a property for longer, thereby reducing rental void periods. It has also been suggested that responsible pet owners feel more at home in a property with their pet and therefore they take good care of the property.
There are some potential downsides however, scratching or chewing damage caused by pets being the obvious one, it might be difficult to assess at face value whether a pet is ‘well-behaved’, though some tenants can provide a reference for their pets from previous landlords. Properties that have previously allowed pets might not appeal to pet allergy sufferers unless the property has undergone a deep clean to remove all pet hair etc.
So, at this moment in time, the Government hasn’t changed the law and therefore landlords still have the right to refuse tenants that have pets. Here at RF&O we would recommend that landlords consider requests for pets on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the nature of the property and the type or number of pets that the tenant has.
If you would like any further information or advice on the contents of this article please don’t hesitate to contact us