This will be a question no longer having to be asked by future renters if labour have their way with new proposals regarding animal welfare.
Labour are currently discussing new policies which will mean that landlords cannot refuse an application from a tenant based on them having pets unless there is proof that animal has been a nuisance. Yet again there could be a grey area here following the 2015 Consumer Rights Act which states landlords can only refuse on reasonable grounds. What are reasonable grounds? What evidence would there be that determines they are a nuisance?
It is a well-known fact that tenants who keep pets do tend to stay longer and landlord can seriously limit their market by stating no pets, especially in more rural areas.
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.
So how can landlords be more open to the idea of accepting pets but also protect their property?
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.
Another important thing to consider is including extra clauses in the tenancy agreement which require the tenant to have property professionally cleaned and flea treated, including the carpets.
Whatever your feelings on accepting pets it’s important 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 it’s worth a nervous landlord doing 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.
If you have a property to let or would like some advice on renting, please contac our lettings team who will be delighted to help on 0121 445 7410 or email email@example.com