There’s no getting round it, pets are popular. Take a stroll through Epping Forest or Wanstead Park and you’ll see no end of proud pooch parents walking their best friends. Even those without a dog at their heel will likely have a cat back at home...providing they’re homeowners, that is!
You see, landlords don’t really like pets in their properties, and at face value it’s not difficult to see why: pets can be destructive, noisy, and, well, a little bit whiffy. There are, however, good arguments in favour of landlords allowing tenants to keep pets in rentals, too, and now might be the time to reconsider your position if you’ve always said no to tenants with pets in tow.
Why landlords should allow tenants to keep pets
Naturally, we’re not saying that you have no choice in the matter, but it might be worth giving the pet problem some thought. Several studies have been conducted over recent years, and the results are pretty conclusive: tenants want to keep pets...and they’re willing to pay for the privilege.
Allowing pets also broadens your reach when it comes to finding prospective tenants. With so many more people opting to keep a pet these days (especially in and around the capital), landlords would be daft not to think carefully about whether the automatic rejection of all things furry is really a good idea after all. Remember, a good tenant with a pet will always be more desirable than a bad tenant without one!
Being a pet-friendly landlord can also have unexpected advantages, too...especially if you let your property to a dog owner. Although it’s something none of us like to consider, burglary is still going on across the country, and having a dog in the property is one of the best deterrents there is. So, being open to pet parents can add an extra layer of security to your property as well.
Finally, there’s a lot to be said about being empathetic to your tenant’s desire to keep a pet. Showing a little understanding here can create a better ongoing relationship between you and your renter, which could ultimately lead to a longer let. This means fewer void periods and less headaches finding new tenants, both of which are things all landlords want to avoid.
Tips for landlords thinking of allowing pets
As with everything else, there’s a right way to do things and a wrong way. Failing to stick to a few basic guidelines could come back to bite you, so it’s worth getting everything in order before you decide to allow pets in your rental property.
Here are a few basic pointers for pet-friendly landlords:
- Use terminology such as ‘will consider pets’ rather than the blanket ‘pets accepted’ when dealing with letting agents or placing ads.
- Should you have any misgivings about certain animals or sizes, state these openingly at the beginning.
- Add an additional clause in the form of an addendum to your tenancy agreement that lays out all of the rules your tenant must abide by with regard to pet ownership.
- Remember, not all landlords are comfortable with allowing pets, so negotiate your rent accordingly.
- Same goes for the deposit. As there will be a higher risk of damage, you should adjust the deposit required to reflect this. An increase to eight weeks rent, from the usual six, is a good rule of thumb.
- Ask for more information about the animal, such as breed, age, size, shedding, etc. You could also ask to meet the animal before making your final decision.
- Ensure your inventory is spot on so that you can claim any damages made to your property by the animal (or human, for that matter!).
- Consider adding an additional charge for professional cleaning to be carried out at the end of the tenancy.
- Lastly, think about whether more frequent inspections of the property would be required depending on the type of pet your tenant wishes to keep.
That’s it! Now more than ever, landlords should be taking pets into consideration when renting out their properties. While there are obvious potential downsides to doing so, the benefits can far outweigh the disadvantages providing due diligence is performed before accepting a tenant and their pet.
If you have property in or around Wanstead and Buckhurst Hill and would rather let a professional team of property managers handle your rental, give us a call. We’d be delighted to go over your options with you.