Housing Secretary calls on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have pets in their homes
This weekend, the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes. He also announced an overhaul of the Government’s own model tenancy contracts.
This follows the Government’s announcement that they will be bringing forward a bill to abolish Section 21, so-called ‘no-fault evictions’, as well as to introduce a Lifetime Deposit scheme.
The NLA has consistently recommended that landlords consider requests for pets on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the nature of the property, the type of pet, and ‘pet clauses’ and the tenancy agreement to promote responsible pet ownership.
Benefits of allowing pets in a property include appealing to a wider range of tenants, including families; tenants often staying for longer periods, reducing voids; and responsible pet owners feeling more at home and therefore taking good care of the property.
However there are plenty of potential downsides. Damage is the obvious one – whether that be scratches on wooden floors and paintwork, chewed up carpets, or stains. A goldfish may be hard to refuse, but even the best house-trained cats and dogs can have the occasional accident.
Anti-social behaviour that upsets neighbours is another common drawback. “Dogs, for instance, will bark and may even howl especially when left alone,” points out Essex lettings agent Daniel Brewer. Pets can bring fleas and mites into the property, and it’s also worth considering that anyone who has an allergy to pets may not want to rent your property in future.
While the Government hasn’t changed the law and you still hold the right to refuse tenants with pets, if you do decide to allow pets in your property, it’s vital that you do your research. You should try to meet the tenant and pet in their current home and see how the pet behaves; ask for references from previous landlords; find out if they are registered with a vet and regularly treated.
For more information on pets in rental properties, check out our other blogs and news items on this topic: