The main reasons many landlords don’t want to accept pets are, understandably:
- potential damage to the property
- unpleasant smells can make any furnishings unusable
- the possibility of a flea infestation!
But, in reality, most pet owners think of their furry friends as members of the family and look after them and their environment very well. They also tend to stay longer in properties, because it’s so difficult to find a pet-friendly home that’s right for them, which minimises the risk of void periods and reduces tenant changeover costs for landlords.
Just over a fifth of respondents in our last tenant survey (22%) said they were concerned about restrictions on having pets in a rental property and 31% said they’d be prepared to pay more if pets were allowed. So, if you currently don’t accept pets, you could be missing out on a significant number of potentially excellent tenants - not to mention some extra rent.
Most tenants with pets, particularly those with dogs, will have had a hard time finding somewhere to live, so will be keen to impress you. Many will bring you references and information about their pet to reassure you and some people might even volunteer to have the property professionally cleaned themselves at the end of the let.
And remember, while you can’t discriminate against a tenant themselves, it is your choice which pets you accept. So if you meet the pet and are concerned, you can always turn down the tenant on those grounds.
Our 5 top tips before accepting a pet
- Get a reference from a previous landlord
- Meet the pet to make sure it’s (a) well-behaved and (b) suitable for the property – e.g. if it’s a small flat, it might be wise not to accept a big dog and you’ll need to check the lease allows pets
- Take an extra security deposit if before June 1st 2019 to cover any damage by the pet and the cost of additional cleaning at the end of the tenancy
- Include a separate ‘pet clause’ in the tenancy agreement that states the conditions of the pet being accepted, making sure it’s legally written
- Ask for their vet’s information and details of the pet’s last vaccinations, plus any flea and worming treatments.