Letting to tenants with pets
Preparing and maintaining your rental property requires both time and financial investment and therefore its important, when considering a tenant’s request to have a pet in your property, to weigh up the positives, protection options and things to look out for, as well as doing some background work.
Shorthold or leasehold?
Before you start, check the deeds to your property. If your property ownership is on a leasehold basis, or an older freehold, there may be restrictions on accepting tenants with pets.
Demand is high
We know that property where pets are permitted is limited because of the negative press they receive. But with 44% of UK households currently owning a pet* and the private rental market increasing year on year, those landlords who buck the trend in allowing our four-legged-friends instantly increase their chances of attracting long-term, trustworthy tenants.
Tenants may be willing to pay a higher rate to secure a property that will allow pets and to cover any potential issues.
A tenant who is lucky enough to find a pet-friendly property is likely to be the model tenant in order to protect their future rental opportunities.
A lesser concern for the landlord than the tenant, but a concern all the same, is security. Having a dog in the property can act as a deterrent to would-be vandals or burglars.
What to watch out for
Dogs and cats aren’t always the most socially acceptable neighbours. As a landlord, it is important to keep on good terms with the owners of neighbouring properties, so consider them in your plans.
Unfortunately, no matter how much preparation or protection you have in place, there will always be the risk of damage, mess, lingering odours and flea infestations. Some companies, like Your Move, have specific pet deposit schemes to cover the added risk of property damage so you can minimise the impact to your bottom-line.
Tenancy agreement updates
If you decide that the pet-owning tenant is for you then its worth including a pet clause in your tenancy agreement along with an additional clause to ensure that any damage is paid for or fixed and that the property is left clean.
Setting out your expectations for a tenant with pets can help to avoid problems.
Consider asking potential tenants for a reference from a previous landlord relating to their pet. If that isn’t possible then their vet may be able to help. If that isn’t available ask to meet the pet and/or see the owner’s records of vaccinations and flea protection.
It's your choice
Ultimately, you have to consider how risk-averse you are. If you’re happy to take your chances and benefit from a wider market, and potentially increased rent, then tenants with pets are for you.
However, if the thought of added maintenance and cleaning raises your stress-levels then you should probably avoid it!