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Pets in Lets: What Should You Consider as a Landlord

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Fri 03 Dec 2021

Pets in Lets: What Should You Consider as a Landlord

We all know that pets aren’t just for Christmas.  But are they suitable for rental properties?  There are benefits to landlords in renting to tenants with pets, but this should be done with careful consideration and off-setting the risk of damage to the property as much as possible. 

Currently, there’s no legal obligation for landlords to accept pets in their rental properties. However, being open-minded to tenants having pets can make a property more desirable, can encourage tenants to stay in a property for longer and can help tenants with issues such as isolation, loneliness and anxiety.

But even the best-behaved animal can still cause damage to a property and inventory management firm No Letting Go recently reported that they have seen an increase in check-out issues relating to pets, including residual odours, damage to carpets and curtains, skirting board damage, cat flaps needing removing from doors and excessive wear of gardens.  Most concerningly, they should also reported that although tenants have an obligation to return a property in its pre-tenancy condition, there is a low likelihood of issues being rectified ahead of check-out, leaving the landlord to carry out repairs or cleaning.

So, what should a landlord do to limit the risk in letting with pets?

Are you able to accept pets? Before deciding that you’re happy with pets in your rental property, check the terms and conditions of your mortgage, insurance policy and terms of lease (if applicable).  

Consider what would be acceptable Not all pets suit all properties and it helps to consider in advance what pets you would be happy to see in your rental property and to advise your letting agent.  This doesn’t have to be set in stone, however, and is also best considered on a case-by-case basis, determined by the pet itself and the tenant’s situation as a whole.

Meet the pet Everyone claims to have a well-behaved pet, but if this was the case there would never be an issue.  The best way to have peace of mind is to meet the pet yourself, preferably at the property to determine if it is a suitable match.

Request the maximum deposit Damage caused by a pet in excess of fair wear and tear can be deducted from the security deposit.  The maximum limit for a security deposit is the equivalent of 5 weeks’ rent, regardless of whether there is a pet involved or not, however.

Get the paperwork right A comprehensive inventory is vital for making a claim from the deposit as there needs to be proof of evidence of any damage against the original condition on occupation.  Details of pets and the expectations with regards to the impact of this should also be included in a pet clause or addendum to the tenancy agreement.  This puts you in the strongest position if there is any dispute over permission or damage.  Pet clauses should also apply only to the agreed pet and does not give blanket permission for further animals to be kept at the property without further agreement.

Using the services of a trusted and professional letting agent can help ensure that you are doing all that you can minimise the risks of including pets in a tenancy.  From compiling a comprehensive inventory to ensuring that tenancy paperwork details the pet(s) in question, to detailing deposit deductions, at Brittons we can help get this right.  Give us a call on 01553 692828 and let Brittons let for you.