Should I let to a tenant with pets?

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Firstly, I must let you all know that I rent my properties to people with pets for a number of reasons.  Allow me to explain further:

  • I am a dog lover and I totally understand the bond between an owner and their pet. If you own an animal you could not get rid of that animal for any property, nor could you give the dog away to another person for the sake of a property.
  • Not all people that own pets allow them to run riot and trash your home. The majority of tenants that I have with pets are extremely house proud, and borderline OCD with their cleanliness!
  • Most of the tenants I have with pets are happy to pay an additional ‘pet’ deposit which does give you extra security in case of any damage (by the human as well as the pet!).
  • In my experience pets bring longevity to a tenancy – most of my pet owning tenants stay longer than the other tenants that I have, as they have concerns about finding another property that accepts animals, and they don’t want to unsettle the animal that they have (we are also lovely landlords but that is a separate blog!).

So, if you currently say ‘no pets’ on your adverts, what is the reasoning behind it?  I have heard stories such as “the cats wee everywhere, and you cannot remove the smell from the carpet” or, “the dogs keep barking when someone comes to the door and I have had complaints”.

Yes,  cats can sometimes wee in an area to mark their territory, but should your tenant clean frequently this is never an issue.  Also, to add to this point the average pet owner tenant stays with us for around 8 years so surely on a rental property the carpets should be renewed at this point?  Not only that but you may find that the tenant would be happy to meet you halfway on the cost for new carpets as they understand that having a pet means you my need to replace more often?

 

And the dog barking?  The best security alarm that money can buy is the sound of a dog barking when you ring the bell.  If you have ever had the misfortune of being burgled as I have, knowing that you have an animal that will discourage burglars is a god-send, and certainly helps you sleep at night. You may get the odd annoyed neighbour granted, but please remind them at this point that the dog barking is a good deterrent for their property as well!

So, what additional checks can you do to make sure that the tenant won’t move a menagerie into your home or start with a dog and a cat and end up with a mini zoo?

 

Firstly, I would ask the tenant directly what animals they have and what breeds the animals are?  Having two dogs is one thing but having two Great Danes is another!

 

Secondly, you can include an addendum on any contract specifying the number of animals allowed on the property, and that the tenant will need to get written permission of any changes from the landlord.  This allows you to control what happens, so should the Sausage dog disappear, and the Great Dane arrive you are able to ask the tenant to bring the Sausage dog back!

 

Thirdly and most importantly, you can ask to attend the tenant’s existing property for a home visit.  This will give you invaluable information to not only how the pet treats the property, but also how the tenant lives and does the same.

 

At the end of the day it is the landlords decision as to whether or not they allow pets in their properties, but bearing in mind that 60% of single people in the UK now buy a pet for companionship, and a staggering 79% of people in the UK have a pet of some sort, you are seriously narrowing down your tenant search by not including those magical two words at the end of your advert “Pets Accepted”.

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