Challenges of pets in rental property

Since the Government’s White Paper was announced last month there has been much discussion in landlord forums regarding proposals to make renting with pets easier.

Some tenants express their desire to own a pet as the main reason that they need to leave a rental property, and prospective tenants with pets are presented with an even further reduced rental market. The White Paper looks to redress this balance between landlords and tenants, so why is this such a hot topic?

Naturally, landlords are concerned about damage to their properties. Next, the home furnishing and fashion company surveyed 2,000 pet owners. They found that dog and cat owners are spending on average £4,231 over their pet’s lifetimes to cover accidental pet-related damage and cleaning costs.

The survey determined that the most common item in need of replacement was bedding, sofas and cushions, which won’t affect landlords of unfurnished properties. However other common items requiring replacement were carpets, electricals and internal doors.

Another survey commissioned by a leading industry supplier of letting properties highlights that three in four landlords who reported damage caused by pets just over half were unable to recover their costs of repair. Thus impacting not just on profits but also the time taken to return their property back to its original state.

The White Paper will ‘give tenants the right to request a pet in their property, which the landlord must consider and cannot reasonably refuse.’ There is also a move to amend the Tenant Fees Act 2019 so that landlords can request that tenants buy pet insurance.

This would ensure that damages are covered however landlords on a number of forums are concerned about the practicalities of policing tenants to obtain and maintain a pet insurance policy on their behalf.

Research done by pro pet group AdvoCATS, suggests that half of the landlords surveyed would prefer any pet damage policies to be in their name with tenants paying the relevant premiums in with their monthly rent. The only other options would be to increase tenancy deposits to cover damages or increase rental charges which are not beneficial to the tenants.

Following the changes at the top of the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Government department pushing forward the White Paper, there may be further developments and changes to this proposal as it makes its way through Parliament.

Our lettings experts will continue to monitor the progress and how these affect both landlords and tenants.

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