Should pet owners be discriminated against in the private rental sector? Not according to The Deposit Protection Service. It says landlords should embrace pet owning tenants. They have issued new guidelines to make it easier for landlords to get their heads around tenants with pets. This advice is rather timely given the nation’s current love affair with pets.
The DPS says landlords should be aware they can charge higher rents when advertising a pet-friendly tenancy. Many pet owners are willing to pay a premium for a rental home where they can take their beloved pets. It also advises landlords to carry out regular inspections, to make sure the property is being looked after and there is no damage.
Pet Ownership is Booming
Pet ownership soared during lockdown. Once restrictions were announced and many employers told their staff to work from home, a lot of people rushed out to buy a lockdown puppy. Breeders and rescue centres were swamped with enquiries. Prices for the most desirable breeds rocketed in response to the increase in demand.
Those who were lucky enough to have a pet during lockdown coped far better with lockdown restrictions than those without a cute cat or cuddly dog. A recent study found that 96% of those surveyed said a pet helped them stay more active and 90% said their pet helped their emotional welfare. It’s also good to know that dog owners live longer on average than people without a canine companion. In fact, even a pet goldfish or hamster proved to be beneficial.
Are You a Pet Lover?
Not all landlords are pet lovers. There are plenty of landlords who ban pets in their rental properties because they believe pets cause property damage. This isn’t helped by the fact landlords can no longer charge ‘pet deposits’ to cover the extra cleaning costs and potential damage. But all is not lost, as with some careful management, landlords can minimise the risk if they decide to accept tenants with pets.
Protect Your Property from Pets Behaving Badly
We have already mentioned how important it is to regularly inspect the property, but it’s also worth mentioning that landlord insurance with extra cover for pet damage is essential. Always check the small print in any insurance coverage you pay, as finding out after the event you’re not covered for damage caused by pets isn’t much fun.
Be sure to verify previous landlord references too. Ask the landlord if the tenant’s pets caused any damage, and if there was damage, reconsider offering them a tenancy agreement.
Include pet-related clauses in your tenancy agreement, which make it clear what is allowed and not allowed. For example, if you’re happy with a maximum one or two small dogs and cats, but no more, say so. That way your tenant is in breach of their tenancy agreement if they buy six mastiffs and start breeding puppies in the spare room. Insert a clause relating to flea treatments too, as dealing with a flea infestation after a tenant has moved out will prove challenging.
Finally, if your tenants have pets, do check with them if they have an emergency contact in the event that they are sick and have to go to hospital. People living alone or elderly tenants need to know someone will look after their pet.
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