Letting to tenants with pets really boils down to personal preference. Even if you’re an animal lover yourself, you might not want your rental properties to be overrun with furry friends.
The truth is that a potential tenant’s pets can bring risks. They can cause damage to the property, the garden, leave a smell and annoy the neighbours. To make your decision, you need to weigh up the likelihood of damage to the property against the prospect of added income.
Monopolise the area
Start with a little research in your area. Are other landlords letting to people with pets? If the majority are not, then there is certainly an opportunity for you to make money. Tenants with pets will often pay more, both for their security deposit and their monthly rent.
You are well within your rights to levy an additional cost for the upkeep of the property when there is added risk in this way. Pets can be accident prone after all. In fact, in a recent survey we found that pets were in the top 10 reasons for claiming on your home insurance.
Don’t roll over
Lay down the law by including a reasonable pet clause in the tenancy agreement or even creating a separate pet policy. This needs to be discussed with your tenant and should detail their responsibilities for damage caused by their pet. Within the pet clause, you can specify certain terms, for instance, preventative treatments for fleas or worms.
By being open to people with pets not only will you increase the pool of prospective tenants but you may well find that pet owners that have struggled to find rented accommodation in the past are more likely to renew the tenancy year on year.
If your prospective tenant has a four-legged friends in tow you might want to reconsider letting pets in the property. It’s reasonable to limit the number of pets a tenant can have because they do pose an added risk to your house, but you should judge this on a case-by-case basis.
Just like people, every pet is different. So take the time to meet your prospective tenant’s pets; there’s no better way to find out what their behaviour is like and how well their owner looks after them. For peace of mind, you could even ask for pet references from their previous landlord or vet.
You might also choose to speak to neighbours to find out whether they have any worries about animals being at the house, and when tenants with animals leave, to let new tenants know that animals have lived in he property. Allergies or added noise could become an issue later down the line, and it’s just courteous to give them a heads up.
Remember that you cannot discriminate against a tenant on the basis that they have pets. This is particularly the case where guide dogs, hearing dogs and other assistance dogs (or even other assistance animals) must be permitted in your property, as stipulated in the Equality Act 2010.