Landlords are faced with many big decisions when renting out their properties, including whether to allow pets. For many years, landlords have been reluctant to allow pets in their properties. But it may be time to consider all tenants for your rental properties.
Most pet owners see their pet as family, and won’t even consider a place that would require them to give up their beloved pet. In the UK, more than half of households own at least one pet in 2020/21. Therefore, it may be worth your time to consider welcoming furry, four legged creatures into your properties.
Opening the door to pet owners does offer many potential benefits but it can be a serious gamble. You may be concerned about pet damage to your property. As with any decision, there are pros and cons to your choices.
However, you don’t have to make that choice alone. We’ve outlined a pros and cons list to allowing pets in your properties, as well as guidance on how to reduce the risk of damage when renting to tenants with pets.
Reasons to Allow Pets in Your Rental Property
1. Marketing to a Larger Pool of Tenants
A large number of renters either have pets or would like to be able to have them. By excluding pet owners from renting out your property you will dramatically decrease the number of potential tenants. By advertising ‘pets allowed’ you could receive more enquires, more viewings and let your property out faster.
2. Pet Owners Will Want to Stay For Longer
Tenants with pets are all too aware that it’s hard to find a landlord so accommodating to their situation. This means your tenants will be more likely to rent with you again. This helps you avoid void periods and reduce time and money spent on finding tenants
3. Higher Rent
Market value determines how high you can set your rent. By allowing pets in your property, you may be able to charge a higher rent if there are few other properties in your neighbourhood that are pet-friendly.
4. Higher Deposit
A pet brings a greater risk of damage to your property. The greater the risk, the higher you can charge for your deposit. We recommend adding a fair amount to cover any additional costs that could be attributed to having a pet in your property.
5. Responsible Pet Owners, Responsible Tenants
Responsible pet owners often make the most responsible tenants. Taking care of pets requires a lot of time and attention. This behaviour is often shown when it comes to how they treat their homes too. The lack of rented accommodation for pet owners also means that tenants will be less likely to do anything to jeopardise their tenancy.
6. Reduced Void Periods
If you exclude pet owners you will be more likely to have a void period; a period of time with an empty property. The rent you lose during this period can quickly add up and come to a serious cost. This problem is exacerbated if you’re relying on rental income to pay a buy-to-let mortgage.
Reasons Not to Allow Pets in Your Rental Property
Pets are renowned for causing damage to properties. There are certain behaviours that landlords associate with pets and property damage. These include: urinating on carpets, scratched surfaces, torn up carpet and destroying gardens. Even well-trained pets can have the odd accident. This should be considered when debating whether or not to allow pets in your property.
Excessive barking can be a nuisance to neighbours. You may receive complaints. If the neighbours near to the property are not keen on animals, community relations could be negatively impacted.
Pets are notorious for smelling. These smells can be difficult to get rid of. This may mean that extra cleaning is required once tenants with pets leave.
4. Animal Hair
Animal hair can be difficult to remove, especially from upholstery and carpets. Animal hair can also carry fleas and mites which can infest a property. These should be considered in the tenancy agreement and deposit if you are renting out to pet owners.
5. Pet Allergies
Once a pet has been kept in the property, it may be difficult to rent the property to anyone with allergies in the future.
How to Reduce Risk When Renting to Tenants with Pets
Meet the Pet Before Deciding
Don’t be afraid to ask. It would be perfectly normal to ask the tenant to meet their pet before deciding to let to them. The best place would be at their current home to see how the pet behaves in their home environment. This is a good opportunity to check for signs of pet-damage to furniture, floors etc.
Include a Pet Clause
You should make it clear in your tenancy agreement that any pets that are there are with your written permission, and that any new pets would require new permission. This clause should also specify that your permission will not be unreasonably withheld as this could be deemed as unfair by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
Outline that the tenants are ultimately responsible for returning the property to you in the same condition that was given to them in.
Make a Thorough Inventory
A comprehensive inventory is essential for minimising deposit disputes – even when a pet is not involved. It provides clear evidence of the condition of the property, and its contents.
We recommend recording small details regarding paintwork, flooring, skirting boards etc, as these are common problem areas for pets.
You can also include dated photographs to support written notes, in order to help minimise deposit disputes.
Get a Reference From a Previous Landlord
It’s a good idea to ask prospective tenants for a reference for their pet from a previous landlord. This will give you an idea of how well behaved they are and if the tenant is a responsible pet owner.
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If you want to learn more about how to manage your properties and feel you can benefit from Keey’s services, take a look at what we can do for you.