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Should you as a Landlord allow tenants to keep pets?

In this three-minute read, we look at the pros and
cons of letting a property to a tenant with a pet.

Should tenants be allowed to keep pets in rental
properties? It’s a thorny subject that is back in the spotlight after an MP
called for landlords to be more flexible on the issue.

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell argues that
preventing tenants from being with their beloved pet companion is cruel and
discriminatory.

“For most people, being separated from your dog is
really no different than being separated from your brother or your sister,” he
says.

Mr Rosindell has put forward a bill that would give
tenants the right to live with their pet, providing that they can show they are
responsible and caring.

Changing attitudes

While the bill is still some way off becoming law –
it’s not clear yet whether enough MPs will back it – it does indicate a growing
interest in the issue.

A study by YouGov and Mars Petcare found that
two-thirds of private tenants would like to have a pet.

However, only around 7% of landlords advertise homes
as suitable for pets, meaning there’s a yawning chasm between the number of
renters who yearn to have a four-legged friend of their own, and properties where
this is possible.

Decisions for landlords

Landlords have an ultimate say over whether pets are
allowed in a property, although the Consumer Rights Act 2015 prohibits blanket
pet bans.

Instead, landlords in London can
include a clause in the contract requiring tenants to request permission to
keep a pet. Landlords can refuse a request but need to provide a good reason
for doing so.

If you receive such a request, here are a few key
issues to consider.

Cons

1 Introducing a pet into a property can increase the
risk of costly damage. Some landlords have horror stories about dogs digging up
gardens, and cats clawing furniture and leaving carpets flea-ridden.

2 If the property is leasehold, some leasehold
agreements do not allow pets.

3 Barking dogs can upset the neighbours and be a
source of ongoing dispute.

Pros

4 Allowing a reliable tenant to keep a pet could
encourage them to stay long term, meaning you don’t have to bother finding new
tenants and running more reference checks.

5 Allowing pets could make your property more
marketable and therefore you can raise the rent.

6 Rodent reduction – Cats kill rats and mice, so provide
an element of pest protection.

Other points of consideration

7 Not all pets are equal. The impact of having a
90kg Great Dane living in a property differs greatly from a caged hamster or a
cat. Talk in detail to your tenant about the pet they would like to have, and
how they intend to look after it.

8 If the tenant owns the pet already, ask to set vet
records to ensure it is vaccinated and microchipped.

9 If the tenant kept a pet at their previous
property, ask for a reference from the landlord in question.

10 Make specific provision in the contract for the
pet in question so that your tenant can’t take advantage of your generosity and
acquire a menagerie of animals.

If you’d like more advice about dealing with tenants
with pets, get in touch. Here at Hoiland Propertieswe can provide a
detailed briefing about how to stay on the right side of the law and protect
your property.

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