According to the most recent data, 46% of renters live with pets — and 48% list allowing pets as a requirement for their next rental. In order to attract tenants, landlords need to consider adapting to changing trends to meet the needs of the rental market. Lettings agency JOHNS&CO is sharing a few expert tips on how landlords can accept tenants with pets whilst also mitigating the risks involved.
Clynton Nel, Residential Director at JOHNS&CO, said: “The UK is a nation of pet lovers and with the government announcing last year that tenants will have the legal right to keep pets as part of the Renters Reform Act, it is important that landlords adjust tenancy agreements accordingly and accommodate the new changes in due course.”
“There are a few ways that landlords can accept tenants with pets without having to worry about the risk of doing so.”
Firstly, Clynton recommends landlords include a pet clause in the lease agreement so expectations can be established beforehand.
“Most likely you’re using a standard tenancy agreement for all of your tenants”, he says, “so if you are renting to tenants with pets for the first time, it’s a good idea to add a clause into the agreement. This way, boundaries are established from the outset. If your tenants agree to the terms, you’ll have some protection if they fail to comply with the agreed terms regarding pets.
“You can follow the same model that pet-friendly hotels do, where they let pets in but put some restrictions in place in order to mitigate potential damage.”
Additionally, you or your letting agent should request a reference from the tenant’s previous landlord on their experience with any pets to find out whether damage or disturbance was caused during that tenancy. You can also ask the tenant to include a pet CV so you have a clearer understanding of the pet you are agreeing to allow in your property.
By doing this, it gives you peace of mind that if a tenant is willing to provide further detail for you on their pet to secure the tenancy, then they are more likely a responsible pet owner. If they are hesitant to provide this for you then it may indicate that they know their pet is unsuitable for a rented property.
Landlords should also consider charging a higher amount of rent per month for tenants with pets, JOHNS&CO suggest.
“It’s likely that your concerns about accepting a tenant with a pet stem from the risk of property damage and the financial consequences this may have”, Clynt says, “this is a landlord’s risk renting to tenants with or without pets. I have seen properties with serious damage from tenants without pets so in order to give yourself some protection against this in both cases, ensure your tenant has a clear understanding of your expectations and that you might agree more frequent routine property visits to highlight any areas of concern and ensure they are keeping to their side of the agreement.
“If you decide to increase the rent on the basis of you accepting pets, you may be wondering how much to increase it by. There is no hard and fast rule to apply here, but you may consider the costs of an additional professional deep clean including steam cleaning of carpets and some decorative works to be completed at the end of the proposed tenancy.
“You may also consider some replacement furniture items if the property is furnished or part furnished and then add those costs to the rent. It is important to be reasonable and factor in the age and current state of any existing furniture items and their normal, useful lifespan rather than just applying a new for old value when working out how much to increase the rent by.”