As a pet owner myself of Nelly, my French Bulldog, and Lola my Great Dane, who both need a lot of time, effort and walking, I sympathise with tenants who are looking for properties that will accommodate them and their pets.
If you’re a pet-owner yourself, you may be more accepting of taking a tenant and his pet – but pets fall into various categories – small, medium and large! We have tenants with hamsters, snakes, guinea pigs, cats and dogs at the last count …
Before accepting a tenant with pets, we recommend that you
• Meet the pet! Is the dog a Jack Russell or a Great Dane? Is it well-behaved, healthy and human friendly?
• Ask for a previous Landlord’s reference on the tenant and their pet’s behaviour
• Ensure the pet is suitable for your particular property. Do you have a garden for it to let off steam? Will it be OK left alone 8 hours in the daytime in a flat? Will it bark continuously or just when the door-bell rings, annoying other residents?
• We recommend that the Tenancy Agreement has a specific clause for pets, including the pet-owner’s responsibilities eg ensuring the tenant is responsible for keeping litter trays clean.
• If your tenant’s pet is causing a problem and breaching the terms in the tenancy agreement, then a Section 8 Notice can be served to remove the tenant and their pet for breach of tenancy (although this would be a last resort)
• Landlords can request a non-returnable pet payment, which will cover the costs of a professional clean including a flea treatment course in the property after the tenant moves out
• Request a higher deposit where the tenant has a pet which may be destructive eg a dog or cat, particularly in furnished properties
• Ensure a thorough Property Inventory/Schedule of Condition is carried out to avoid confusion about repairs and maintenance (cats can scratch, and dogs can chew doors!)
• Consider asking your tenants with pets to cover the cost of professionally cleaning the property once they have moved out. This can be written into the tenancy agreement
• Landlords can be wary of accepting tenants with pets. If you will accept pets – then make a song and dance of it, and you’ll reach out to more tenants, increasing the level of inquiries you receive.
• Cats and dogs are the most common household pets in the UK, although we have housed tenants with pet snakes (who have, on occasions, escaped causing concern) and other small animals such as a rabbit (kept indoors) – this will improve your chances of finding a tenant
• If you evict a tenant and an animal is left in the property, it is the landlord’s responsibility to deal with it
• It’s important to make quarterly inspections of the property whether you allow pets or not, but especially if your tenant does have pets, so you can monitor how well behaved and clean the animal is.
• You can use the tenant’s deposit to cover cost of cleaning the property if it isn’t returned in the same state as it was when he/she moved in.
• Normal building and content insurance policies don’t usually cover potential pet damage, so you may want to get additional insurance.
• If you are letting a leasehold property you will need to check if the Head Lease allows any pets.
As a dog owner myself, I firmly believe that a dog is only as good as its owner - select with care, and there is no reason why tenants with pets can’t live in harmony with local residents and neighbours. We tend to find that tenants with pets look after the property very well, as they want a good reference in the future!
The security deposit covers damage caused by the pet, and a well-constructed tenancy agreement should provide protection from abuse of the property.
Do you allow pets? Or have you had a harrowing experience with a tenant and their domestic pet? We’d love to know …
59 Church Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 2BD / 01273 735237 / email@example.com
B1 Yeoman Gate, Yeoman Way, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3QZ / 01903 831338 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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