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Tenants and Pets

Letting to tenants with pets can be a bit of a hassle and many landlords simply state that tenants are not allowed to own a pet, such as a cat or a dog. Whilst smaller pets such as fish and hamsters may be allowed, often cats and dogs, and anything else of a similar size, aren’t. However, ensuring your tenants are actually sticking to these rules can be a bit tricky. So, what do you do?

Be Upfront

When your new tenants move in, it’s a very good idea to be upfront and ask your tenants whether they do own any pets already. Now, for a start, it’s perfectly reasonable for landlords to object to tenants owning a cat or a dog since they can cause a great deal of wear and tear.

If you do not want pets in your property, then it’s important to stick to this notion as any unwanted pets in your property will just cause an unnecessary headache in the long term. Be aware however that you may lose potential tenants this way, however, finding the right tenants for your property is essential!

Signs of a Pet

So, how can you be sure that your tenants haven’t bought a pet after having moved in? Well, if your tenants do own pets then it will be likely that you will see obvious telltale signs, such as unusual teeth marks where a cat or, in particular, a dog may have gnawed at furniture. You may also notice some damage in the garden and most of all you may find claw marks in the surfaces. Then there’s dog or cat hair that can be tricky to keep tabs on.

Suspicions

If you are suspicious that your tenants are in breach of the contract and you do indeed find that they have been keeping pets in the property without consent and a number of damages have been caused, then you are more than entitled to take the cost of repairs out of their deposits. The tenants are ultimately responsible for any damages that are caused whilst they reside in the property, however make sure you have a good landlord insurance policy to cover you in the event of damages.

Most people these days are animal lovers, however, being an animal lover doesn’t necessarily mean you want them running around your property! Make sure you choose your tenants carefully and enquire as to whether they have any pets before taking them on as your new tenants.

Of Mice (Dogs, Cats) and Men

The reaction from people towards pets in the home generates quite polarised reactions. Some people love having animals live with them, while others cannot bear the thought. For people who own their own property, it’s a simple matter of knowing what their personal preference is. For tenants on the other hand, they need to be sure their landlord is happy to have an animal living in their property.
As the owner, landlords have a definitive say on whether their building is pet friendly. Tenants who ignore this could be in breach of their contract and risk eviction. Therefore it is important to make clear whether pets are allowed or not when listing your property.

No Pets Allowed

A majority of rental properties refuse tenants who own, or are hoping to eventually own, a pet regardless of its type or size. This can be frustrating for pet owners as they argue the landlord will not be the person living with the animal; therefore it has no direct impact on them. However, the landlord can still suffer the effects of having a pet such as damaged furnishings and complaints from neighbours.

The most common domestic animals are dogs and cats, which can each cause the most problems as they have more freedom to roam around the house, unlike caged pets. They are notorious for chewing and scratching furniture, being too noisy, soiling floors, creating offensive odours inside a property and ruining the appearance of a well kept garden. Even with the most well behaved animal and responsible tenant, these destructive traits can still occur. Therefore it is understandable why most landlords, particularly when they are providing a furnished property, refuse pets.

If a tenant has pet insurance, then there is a chance you will not be held liable for any damage to yours, or anyone else’s property caused by the animal. But as extra protection, you should have landlord insurance for any other issues that may arise.

Benefits of Allowing Pets

As a majority of landlords do not accept pets, there is a constant high supply of tenants looking for pet friendly properties. With such a high demand for these properties, tenants are more willing to pay a higher price which can cover the extra costs landlords face by being pet friendly. In addition, pet owners are more likely to stay in your property longer as it is much harder for them to find alternative places to live.

Another benefit of allowing pets is that you don’t need to worry as much about the décor of your property. Most pet owners tend not to buy fine items for their home as there is a higher risk of them being ruined. Therefore they will not be too judgmental if the property does not have brand new furnishings.
You can also control what animal will be staying in your property, as you enquire about a tenant’s pet during the screening process. So for example, if you have an allergy to cats you can refuse cat owners, as you will have to occasionally visit the property.

As a final note, it is important to be aware that the freedom to refuse pet owners is not always black and white. Some tenants with a disability may require the permanent assistance of a pet, such as guide dogs. With this in mind, you will need to consult discrimination regulations and other related laws on whether you are still able to refuse a disabled tenant and their pet.

Tenants with pets can be a good bet

Some landlords think of pets in their property as a ticking time bomb while others see it as a good way to attract more tenants and charge a higher rent. There are both advantages and disadvantages of renting to people with dogs and other pets and landlords have different views on whether it is right for a rental property.

Many landlords who have landlord insurance are not willing to accept pets in a rented property, but those who do will instantly expand the number of tenants to choose from. In fact there are a small number of landlords who actually prefer renting to a pet owner because they find them to be much more responsible. Another bonus of renting a property to a tenant with pets is that they are more likely stay there longer as it is harder for them to find another landlord who will accept them. Essentially, a landlord will find tenants a lot quicker if they allow pets, which will ultimately save them money.

A landlord who allows a tenant to have a pet will sometimes ask for a pet deposit. This works just like any other security deposit and a landlord can deduct money from it to pay for any cleaning needed or any damage that the pet has caused. As well as the pet deposit, a landlord will sometimes increase the monthly rent, and a tenant with a pet is usually willing to pay more rent in order to keep the pet, as long as the rent increase is not unreasonable.

A landlord who refuses pets does not mean that they are pet haters. Sometimes they may just be ill-informed or more likely, they have had a bad experience with pets and their owners in the past. An untrained pet will have the potential to cause a lot of damage to a property and if they are not toilet trained, they could cause some nasty odours and stains around the property. A dog who barks constantly, a cat meowing or even chirping from birds could lead to noise problem especially if the neighbours live close by. The last thing a landlord wants is to have to deal with complaints from the neighbours and other tenants all the time. A good landlord will make quarterly inspections of their property whether they allow pets or not, but especially if a tenant does have a pet, so they can monitor how well behaved and clean the pet is.