Should I accept pets in my rental property?
Should I accept pets? This is a question many landlords will ask themselves and us when their property is to be marketed. Tenants always tell us how hard it is to find suitable properties where landlords will consider their beloved pets- which to them, are like their children.
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.
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 which generally cause the most worry for landlords. When you consider these figures, by saying no to pets, landlords can seriously limit their applicant base which means their property might take longer to let.
I am in no way trying to persuade you that you have been doing the wrong thing by saying no to pets, as I know from experience that they can do some serious damage. What I would say, is there are many ways in which you can limit the risk and consider pets with more peace of mind.
The first, and most important rule of thumb is to take more deposit. Nearly all applicants will expect and be more than happy to have to pay more deposit if it means they don’t have to potentially consider rehoming their pets to get a property.
Often agents and landlords do not find out the finer details regarding the pets and their routine. They should be finding out what breed and age the pets are (A middle aged spaniel is far less likely to cause destruction than a bouncy puppy). You should also find out if the tenants will be out at work all day and if so what happens to the animals- do they employ a dog walker, do they go to a family member? Does that cat stay outside all day? Or is the dog left unattended with free roam of the house for 10 hours a day? These points can really help you make the decision about responsible pet ownership.
Whatever your feelings on accepting pets I would urge you to treat each individual on a separate basis. Obviously there are times when a property is not suitable for pets e.g. apartments, unless they have a garden and no restraints imposed from the freeholders, would not be suitable. 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.
The other thing I would advise nervous landlords to do is to meet the pets in question if they are unsure- by meeting them it may help sway their decision one way or the other.