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Landlord Best Practices: Is it Worth Allowing Pets?

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 

1. Damage 

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.

2. Noise 

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.  

3. Odor  

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.  

Read Now: Important Renting Rules for Landlords and Tenants to Follow 

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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. 

5 Things You Shouldn’t Do As A Landlord

Found yourself strapped for cash and wanting to earn more? You’ve probably considered becoming a landlord and letting other people reside in your property. 

In order to be successful as a landlord, you have to know what makes a “good” landlord. It’s not as simple as letting someone live in your home or for them to temporarily stay there for a holiday. Granted, while you’ll need to get to know the people who’ll be owing you money, there are some basic pieces of social etiquette that needs to be followed. Here is a list of things you can’t do as a landlord: 

1. Discriminate 

An absolute no-brainer, under no circumstances should you be hostile towards tenants or reject possible ones. specifies that it’s against the law to discriminate individuals on the following grounds: 

  • Age 
  • Gender reassignment (being or becoming a transgender person) 
  • Being married or in a civil partnership 
  • Being pregnant or on maternity leave 
  • Disability 
  • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin) 
  • Religion, belief, or lack of religion/belief 
  • Sex/gender 
  • Sexual orientation 

However, it’s perfectly reasonable to “lawfully discriminate”; for example, if a tenant has poor credit history or cannot afford the rent, these are justified reasons to be more critical for once. After all, you do want them to pay you on time, don’t you? 

2. Refuse to make any repairs 

Now, how would you like it if you were living in someone else’s home – or just staying at a hotel – and you came across something that desperately needed to be fixed? Obviously, you have no obligation to do it yourself, not to mention you might not even be qualified to deal with it anyway. You’ll find yourself asking someone who is allowed to do so… but they never do it. You might follow it up and repeat what you said, but still, nothing comes about it. 

As a landlord, you have to make repairs if something is damaged, broken, or just not right. In fact, it’s against the law if you don’t repair your letting property. It’s covered under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985; Section 11, to be precise. If you do avoid making those repairs, you may be avoiding those tasks as a way to make it difficult for your tenants to stay, hoping that they’re going to leave. This passive-aggressive discriminatory behaviour is not allowed. You’re also not allowed to make up your own rules just because you and a tenant might not get along or you’ve had some form of disagreement. As covered in the previous point, you mustn’t discriminate your tenants, whether it involves the listed reasons for discrimination or not. 

3. Enter without permission 

Let’s say you’re relaxing at home. You might be reading the newspaper or watching the television as you unwind. All is going fine. That is, until someone suddenly enters the room – or even your house, for that matter – despite you not granting them access to it. You’d be annoyed, wouldn’t you? 

Now imagine that the person who was keeping to themself was your tenant. The person who disturbed their peace was you. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Indeed, it’s not very pleasant. Just because you own the property doesn’t mean you should suddenly come barging in with no prior warning. If you are to enter, you must give at least 24 hours’ notice at the very least. If you want to have privacy, so should your tenant. There is nothing worse than an unwanted and uninvited houseguest. 

4. Constantly messaging the tenant 

Desperately need that rent from your tenant? Are they running late with it, perhaps again? Are you constantly contacting them, whether it’s by phone, email, text, or a simple letter? It’s perfectly alright to be concerned if you haven’t been paid yet, but what must be taken into account is the frequency of which you contact them. If you message the tenant too much, even if they are in the process of or are close to paying you, you could be making them feel alarmed or distressed. This is classed as harassment, which is, yet again, against the law. If your harassment goes too far, you might find yourself being taken to court and losing more money. 

5. Wrongful eviction 

It is important to highlight the difference between wrongful conviction and wrongful eviction. This doesn’t mean you’re kicking someone out just because of a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of events, but you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. There are two things you must never do in terms of evicting tenants: 

  1. Evicting them without notice. No one likes to be told something at short notice, let alone at the last minute. You especially cannot do this during a fixed term. Even if there is an end-date on the contract, that doesn’t mean the tenancy agreement will automatically terminate. If rent is paid every month, then a month should be the minimum notice period. 
  1. Evicting them because you’re selling the property. If a tenant has a fixed term tenancy agreement, then they can’t just simply pack up and leave because you are. 

In Conclusion 

These 5 pieces of advice must be followed rather strictly if you wish to be a landlord. If you don’t, then you’ll be breaking the law. However, there are many other things you should never do as a landlord, so if you want to hear more advice about what not to do, as well as what you should do, contact us at Keey today

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