Pets in rental properties

Learn the advantages, disadvantages and legal responsibilities when considering allowing tenants to keep pets in your property.

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What is the law on landlords allowing pets?

In January 2021, the government announced that under the new Model Tenancy Agreement, landlords were no longer able to ban tenants from having pets by default. If you choose to use this agreement, you cannot ban pets by default and will need to respond to a tenant’s written request within 28 days and explain why the property is not suitable for pets.

However, this does not mean that as a landlord you are required to let tenants have pets in your rental property. You are under no legal obligation to rent to tenants with pets – the new legislation only applies if you use the government’s Model Tenancy Agreement.

The tenancy agreements we use do not contain such a clause, so you remain in control of whether you allow tenants to keep pets or not. If your rental property has a managing agent – for example, if it’s a flat within a block – you will need to check whether the Head Lease allows pets in the building.

Advantages and disadvantages of allowing pets in your rental property:

There are positives and negatives to allowing tenants to keep pets in your rental property. Pet ownership increased dramatically during the pandemic, and in February 2021, the RSPCA found that 44% of households now own pets – so if you decide not to allow pets, you may be excluding a lot of financially stable applicants who are looking for long-term tenancies. But it’s understandable for landlords to be wary of renting to tenants who own pets. We’ve put together a list of pros and cons to help you decide what will work best for you and your rental property.

Advantages:

  • Higher rent. Due to fewer properties on the market allowing pets, if you decide to allow pets, you can ask for a higher rent. As deposits are capped at 5 weeks’ rent, we can increase the rent slightly per month as a ‘pet premium’.
  • Number of applicants. You’ll immediately attract a larger pool of potential candidates, which means you won’t find it difficult to let your property
  • Type of tenant. Tenants who own pets are often more settled in their lives, so will be looking for a long-term tenancy – which in turn offers you some security.

Disadvantages:

  • Pet damage and odours. Allowing pets does increase the risk of damage, and sometimes animal odours can be hard to remove from a property. Again, this makes it reasonable for you to ask for a higher rent in order to cover the cost of repairs and deep cleaning at the end of the tenancy.
  • Noise. Some pets may be noisy and disruptive – it may be a good idea to include a clause in the contract stating that tenants are responsible for making sure neighbours are not disturbed by any pets.

Ultimately, the decision to let your property to tenants who own pets is entirely up to you – and any reservations you may have are understandable. But there are tangible benefits to renting to tenants with pets – higher rents and a wider pool of applicants – so if your property is suitable, it is worth considering.

 

If you’re thinking of renting your property and have any questions, we’d be more than happy to help. Visit your local branch today or call 01903 213 111 to speak with one of our friendly team.

Summary

  • The property should achieve a higher rent.
  • You should have a wider choice of prospective tenants.
  • There will be additional wear and tear to the property. There is the possibility of a pet causing damage.

"I am a landlord in Worthing and have been renting out my property with Michael Jones for many years. Very good overall service with Jane Hoskins being my point of contact for renewals. Had very little down time between tenants with the process being smooth and hassle free. Would have no problem in recommending them to any property owner thinking of letting."

Mr T

Landlord

Allowing tenants with pets should provide a wider choice of prospective tenants.

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