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Letting to Tenants With Pets: Yes or No?

5 minutes

Allowing tenants to own pets in your rental property is a big decision. Is it worth it?

 

There are pros and cons of allowing tenants to have pets in your flat or house, giving you plenty to think about before you make a decision.

Our guide looks at situations you might find yourself in, the pros and cons of becoming a pet-friendly landlord, and how to create a tenant pet policy to cover yourself in case something goes wrong.

Should you have a pet-friendly rental?

In the UK, we love our pets. Some 45% of us are pet owners, caring for animals of all shapes and sizes, and 1 in 5 people in the UK are renting privately.

The demand for pet-friendly rental properties is clearly there, but it’s not as simple as letting all potential tenants who have pets into your flat or house.

Renting with pets can have its benefits for landlords:

  • A wider pool of potential tenants – opening your doors to pets means prospective tenants who’ve previously been shut-out of rental properties will consider your property
  • Happier tenants – research suggests owning a pet is beneficial for mental health, so happier tenants can mean less issues for you - and reflects positively on you as a landlord
  • Additional income – several landlords are now including an additional subsidy onto monthly payments for those who are renting with pets – this can help you earn extra money from your letting. 
 
The demand for pet-friendly rental properties is clearly there, but it’s not as simple as letting all potential tenants who have pets into your flat or house.

However, becoming a pet-friendly rental can also mean:

  • Possible pet-related damage – pets can occasionally be destructive, which increases the chance of damage to flooring, furniture and walls
  • Pets may not be house-trained – you have no guarantees that the animals you let into your rental home are house-trained, which can result in higher cleaning costs at the end of a tenancy
  • Allergies for future tenants – once a rental property has had pets in, it might be difficult to rent out to prospective tenants who have allergies

Pet-friendly landlords

The decision to make your property a pet-friendly rental isn’t as black and white as it may seem. Most of the time, looking at each tenant on a case-by-case basis can help you decide whether they’re responsible owners that you want to allow to keep animals in your property.

Here’s a couple of scenarios you might encounter when renting to tenants with pets: 

Scenario 1

A couple come to view your property who own a dog. They let you know beforehand that they are pet owners and that the dog is house-trained. They’ve also informed you that one of them works from home during the day, so the dog won’t be left alone for long periods.

Result? This couple are clearly responsible owners who’ve made every effort to keep you in the loop about their current situation and how their pet will cause minimal problems for a landlord.

Scenario 2

A person comes to view your property who doesn’t indicate that they own several cats before or during the viewing. They only mention it when they call you to say they want the property, leaving you with a last-minute decision about whether to rent to them.

Result? Given there’d be more than one animal living under your roof, there’s an increased chance of damage. Plus, you’ve not been given advanced warning, which means you’re limited in what you can do to pet-proof it. You might want to refuse straight away or add a chunky pet deposit – either way, make sure you take time to decide.

Every tenant will be different and have their own unique situation when it comes to the pet/s they own. Take each prospective renter on an individual basis and get to know them – and their pet – a little better.

This can help you decide whether you’re likely to have issues, letting you make an informed choice before renting to them.

Landlord pet policy

Whatever your decision is about allowing pets in your property, you should consider having a landlord policy in place.

These are guidelines a prospective renter must follow when it comes to pets in your property – whether you’re allowing them in or not.

A typical tenant pet policy should include the following terms:

  • Clearly state whether your tenants can keep pets
  • Say whether you allow animals to visit your property
  • List which animals you are allowing/not allowing in your property
  • Include a procedure for reporting pet-related damage and any additional deposit you require
  • Outline the penalties for breaking the terms of your landlord pet policy

Once you’ve developed this, you should clearly communicate it to any current or future tenants – ideally verbally as well as in their contract.

If you’ve decided to allow pets, it might be wise to increase the deposit amount a new tenant would pay before taking on the contract. That’s because there’s the increase chance of pet-related wear and tear that you’ll have to fix at the end of a tenancy, before someone new moves in.

And don't forget to check out our landlord insurance. 

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