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Dogs, Cats, Snakes and Spiders - There's a Home for Every Pet!

Should I accept pets?  If you are a landlord, the chances are you have asked yourself this question many times.  It’s certainly a question that we hear a lot in our lettings team as part of rental valuations, prior to a new property being marketed.

We also often hear the other side of the question from prospective tenants – “will the landlord accept pets?”  It can be hard for a tenant to find a suitable property for both them and their pets.  But, why is this such a seemingly constant issue?

According to the Pet Foods Manufacturers Association- A staggering 13 million of UK households (46%) have pets. The highest proportion of these, by a long way, are cats and dogs.  And, it is cats and dogs, rather than lizards and turtles that generally cause the most worry for landlords.  However, when you consider these figures – there could be a valid argument that by saying no to pets, landlords can seriously limit their applicant base.  A direct result of this could mean that your property might take longer to let.

It only takes one bad experience for a landlord to then say no to considering any pets in the future. Landlords talk to other landlords therefore the one landlord who has a bad experience will off load this information to another landlord and a spiralling negative effect can happen.  

In our experience, there are many ways in which you can limit the risk and consider pets with more peace of mind.

Increase the rent

You could ask for an increased monthly rent if tenants have pet(s).  Nearly all applicants will expect and be more than happy with this, if it means they don’t have to potentially consider rehoming their pets to get a property.  Perhaps you could consider including carpet cleaning before and after the tenancy which could be included in the rental fees?

Do your research

It’s important that the managing estate agents finds out the finer details regarding the pets and their routine.  They should be finding out what breed and age the pets are, as this could have an impact on whether or not you are happy to have them in your property.  For example, a middle-aged spaniel is far less likely to cause destruction than a bouncy puppy!  It’s also a good idea to take the tenants working responsibilities into account –their work and how they plan to deal with looking after their pet might well sway your decision.

It’s important to treat each individual prospective tenant on a separate basis.  Obviously, there are times when a property is not suitable for pets.  For example, apartments, unless they have a garden and no restraints imposed from the freeholders, would not be suitable. 

Be open-minded

It is a shame to disregard the perfect tenant just because they have a small dog that goes to doggy day care all day when they are out. If you’re still having doubts about accepting pets in your rental property, then we would advise you to meet the pets in question.  This is likely to help you make up your mind one way or the other!