Should I Rent Out My Property to Tenants with Pets?
Last updated: 6.17pm, Tuesday 8th September 2020
As more tenants are looking to live in their own property, like a Buy to Let, there is more requests for the acceptance of pets. We look at the pros and cons of that.
by Gordon Campbell
8th September 2020
This is a question we get asked on a regular basis and more so now as more tenants are looking to live in their own property like a BTL and have their own space post Covid.
Here we give our personal opinions and the industry feedback and recommendations as well.
Are pets popular in the UK?
The country is full of pet lovers, with around 16 million dogs and cats living in British homes, not to mention the rabbits, fish, birds, hamsters and others that share our space.
Weroom.com recently released research showing that renters are willing to pay some more in rent per year for a home where they can take their dog, which suggests landlords could be missing out on extra cash or securing long term renters if they accept a pet.
But is it a good idea to let your tenants have pets?
Many landlords worry about the possible property damage, the lingering smell of a canine companion, and the potential nuisance to neighbours if the animal is noisy or aggressive.
Still, there are good sides to renting to pet owners too. Since so many landlords ban pets, animal charity Dogs Trust has set up the Lets with Pets website, which provides information and guidance for pet owners, landlords and letting agents.
To help you make a decision on whether or not to allow pets, we've summarised some of the pros and cons.
Reasons to allow pets in your rental property
- As we’ve said, tenants are often willing to potentially pay slightly more for pet-friendly properties, so you may be able to charge higher rent.
- Since so many people own pets, marketing your property as pet-friendly opens it to a much bigger pool of potential tenants.
- Being openly pet-friendly means that your tenants do not need to hide their pet from you, so you can have open conversations and put rules in place.
- Being understanding about your tenant’s pet could foster a better relationship with them and mean that they're keen to stay longer and keep the property in good condition.
Reasons not to allow pets in your rental property
- Pets can potentially, but not often, be destructive, with expensive damage to flooring and furnishings a possibility.
- Even well-behaved animals can increase the amount of wear-and-tear, so post-tenancy cleaning bills may be higher.
- Dogs may annoy the neighbours if they’re noisy or badly behaved. Some dogs howl when they’re left alone, and many dogs bark when someone comes to the door.
- Once a pet has been kept in the property, it may be difficult to rent the property to anyone with allergies in the future
What should I do for allowing pets in my rental property?
- If you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of allowing pets and decided to go ahead, these are some of the things to think about:
- Fundamentally it is about having a good relationship with the letting agent.
- They are the people on the ground who know your property, will know the tenant’s situation and their experience will allow to also make a good judgement call on what or not to do.
- Remember to put ‘pets considered’ in the property description and let the letting agents know, as on some websites property listings can be filtered according to whether rentals are pet-friendly.
- You may want to specify which types of pets are permitted in the property. A large dog may not be suitable for a small flat, while you may be happy with small dogs or cats.
- Adding a ‘pet clause’ to the tenancy agreement gives you the chance to set out the rules regarding pets.
- I for example have a Pet Addendum for any of my tenants wanting to have a pet in the property.
- Go through this carefully with your letting agent.
- You may want to charge a higher deposit for tenants with pets. Remember that, as with all deposits, it will need to be protected under the deposit protection scheme.
- You could consider charging your tenant a non-refundable ‘pet payment’ to cover the cost of professionally cleaning the property once they’ve moved out.
- If there are pets living in the property, regular inspections may be even more important, but remember that you need to give your tenants at least 24 hours’ notice.
Our opinion is and from experience, is that we have no objection to having a small pet in a rented property.
If you and or the letting agent are careful with your choice, there is no reason why people with pets should not prove to be excellent tenants who will look after your property well and always pay on time.
As so many landlords routinely refuse pets, you will probably find that you have a far greater pool of potential tenants to choose from, if you state in your advertisement that pets are allowed.
Most pet owners are pleasant, responsible people who will make excellent long-term tenants.
We hope this helps add some additional thought and information if and when you have this question asked for one of your properties.