Around half of UK households own a pet and, although many letting agencies are signing up as ‘pet friendly’, lots of landlords still don’t allow tenants to have animals in their properties. This is usually due to a higher probability of damage, mess and nuisance to neighbours – but are landlords missing a trick?
By allowing pets in your properties, you could open yourself up to a whole pool of prospective tenants that you’d otherwise have missed out on and who are probably finding it really hard to rent a property that they like, in the location of their choice.
With the private rental sector growing constantly, this number will only increase and you could potentially be missing out on some great tenants.
Of course, there are risks. The pet could be badly behaved, it could be noisy while its owner is out (and annoy the neighbours), and your tenant could be too lazy to clean up after it. But aren’t damage, mess and antisocial behaviour risks you face with human tenants too?
Ok, so your tenant probably won’t chew the skirting boards, but we’ve all heard horror stories of damage caused by tenants themselves – never mind their animals.
You’d always check that your tenants are suitable, so why not check up on their pets too? Simply contacting the previous landlord or letting agent (with the tenant’s permission) and asking their experience of this particular pet is a great way to put your mind at ease.
You could also arrange to meet the tenant and their pet in their current home (if possible) to see the situation for yourself and ask any set questions about the animal’s behaviour and well-being.
There are even specialist tenancy agreements you can put in place, to ensure the boundaries are set and the tenant agrees to fund a professional deep clean on vacating the property, for example.
It’s also reasonable to ask for a higher deposit, many landlords ask for an extra two weeks’ rent up front when it comes to pets and pet-owning tenants are generally happy with this – as they’re likely to be struggling to find a suitable place to live.
If you’re thinking about it but you’re not entirely convinced, have a look at the Lets with Pets website – there’s a whole wealth of information and resources you can access, including example tenancy agreements and pet-referencing checklists.