Our guide to safely letting your property to pet owners

by | Jun 26, 2024 | London Homes, Renting | 0 comments

In the UK there are 36 million pets, of which 13.5 million are dogs and 12.5 million are cats. Millenials, the generation currently 28 – 43 years of age are the largest pet-owning generation, and they are driving consumer trends in pet ownership. 76% of millennials have pets and are expanding the market in grooming, vetinary services and keeping Instagram awash with cat memes. The Renters Reform Bill in the UK aims to safeguard tenants rights when renting and seeks to improve the situation between landlords and tenants when it comes to landlords becoming more “pet friendly”. At Anthony Ward Thomas, we have a dedicated wing of property services which can assist landlords to manage their properties and rental agreements. Here is our guide to making sure all parties involved are content when letting your property to pet owners.

Contents

  1. Positive factors for landlords when tenants have pets
  2. Variables with pets and their owners
  3. Renters Reform bill and how it affects landlords
  4. Pet Clause in your rental agreement
  5. Check in and inventory process
  6. Mid- tenancy  property checks
  7. End of tenancy property checks
  8. Tenancy Deposit Scheme
  9. Anthony Ward Thomas – Bespoke Property Services for Landlords

Positive factors for landlords when tenants have pets

In general the idea of pets can seem problematic, particularily to non- pet owners. Apprehension over wear and tear and other complications generally make renting to pet owners less appealing. However, recent research from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home finds that 76% of landlords noted no pet caused damage or depreciation to their property.  What was also evident in this research is that tenants with pets were likely to stay longer, with less rental changeovers. Considering the number of pet owners in London and the UK is on the increase, it may be time to re evaluate pre- conceptions landlords have about renting to pet owners.

Variables with pets and their owners

Obviously there are variables with pets, depending on their training, relationship with their owner and their age.  It can be helpful to asses in advance whether this pet will be suitable for the property.  When asking owners about their pet here are a few pointers to establish it this situation will work.

  • What is the breed of the pet?
  • Nature of its shedding and if it is hypoallergenic?
  • Is it treated for parasites and fleas regularly?
  • Trained?
  • Neutered or sterilised?
  • Will the pet be alone at home for most of the day?

Ideally, if your tenants have a reference from a previous landlord that can vouch for the pet, then you will have advance assurance of the pets behaviour.

Renters Reform Bill

Essentially the Renters Reform Bill aims to create more opportunities and rights for pet owners to rent from landlords. In order to safeguard landlords, it allows them to require tenants to take out insurance to cover and damage caused by pets.  While landlords can refuse a request to keep a pet, tenants will be able to challenge the refusal and a landlord will have to provide reasonable grounds for the refusal.  A new Model Tenancy Agreement will be introduced with the Renters Reform Bill that will include provisions for pets, stating and clarifying the rights and responsibilities of the tenants.

Pet Clause in your rental agreement

When drawing up an agreement with your tenants, it is important to add a Pet Clause to clarify the tenant’s resposibilities in the property with regards to their pet.  This clause should specify:

  • The number of pets and the type of pet
  • Cleaning agreements with regard to the pet
  • Pest control agreements with regard to the pet- particularly in respect of fleas
  • Garden maintenance in relation to the pet
  • Agreements for repairing and replacing anything damaged by the pet

In fact, it is disputes over garden maintenance that are the main source of issues according to The National Residential Landlords Association. Disputes over deposits are more likely to arise over unclear expectations of garden maintenance, than over pet damage. With that in mind, don’t forget the Garden Clause when you draw up the rental agreement.

Check in and inventory

At the start of the tenancy, if you have a full inventory and condition report of the property, accompanied with time-stamped photographs, then when it comes to the end of tenancy inspection and report you have evidence of how the property was at the outset. It is worth noting in the written report if there are odours from pets in the beginning.  This kind of process is something that Anthony Ward Thomas can manage as part of our property services, where we often act in place of the landlord, safeguarding their rental procedure.

Mid- tenancy property checks

Halfway through the duration of the tenancy it is worth scheduling a mid- tenancy property check to identify any damage that may be caused by the tenants and their pets. Photographs can be used to document anything that may be relevant in a deposit dispute.  The tenants can be advised of anything they may need to improve to uphold their side of the tenancy agreement, with regards to the Pet Clause.  As this may not be something the landlord wishes to do in person, it is possible for Anthony Ward Thomas property services to take this on as part of a property management package.

End of tenancy checks

Finally, the end of tenancy check details the situation at the end of the tenancy through a comparison with the initial report.  There is always allowable wear and tear in a rental agreement, but in the case of damage and loss, repayment for this will come out of the tenant’s initial deposit. As part of our property services, we can deal with the whole end-of-tenancy process, including meter readings, which may also be relevant for finalising the return of the deposit to the tenant.

Tenancy Deposit Schemes

Landlords are required to place the tenant’s security deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Three schemes are recommended by the government in their guidelines. These schemes serve as resolution service providers when it comes to deposit disputes. Some provide mediation services mid-tenancy should there be disputes about problematic pets and breaches of contract.  These services act to support both the landlord and tenant and facilitate a smooth transfer of funds at the start and end of the agreement.

Anthony Ward Thomas – Bespoke property services for landlords

Making light work for landlords, we have a sector of specialist tradespeople that can be important at the end of a tenancy for both landlords and tenants. In particularly, if you wish to manage your property remotely we can also offer a compliance service, where we ensure your property is up to date with all the necessary health and safety requirements a landlord must provide a tenant. At a glance, here is our range of services, which we can arrange to suit your needs.

  • Inventories, check in, mid – tenancy checks and end of tenancy checks
  • End-of- tenancy cleaning services
  • Handymen
  • Painters and decorators
  • Compliance for landlords

We specialise in offering our customers a degree of service like no other in London, whether that is for removals and storage, handling fine art, or overseeing rental properties on our client’s behalf.  If renting to tenants with pets seems challenging, we are up to date with the landlord’s rights and changes in the system to protect both landlord and tenant. Get in touch with our team today to discuss any questions you may have and to get a quote for our streamlined property services.