Should landlords consider letting to tenants with pets

Should landlords consider letting to tenants with pets

As a landlord, you have a whole host of responsibilities towards your tenants. You are obliged to provide them with a suitable place to live and to carry out necessary maintenance and repairs under the terms of their contract.

In return, there are certain expectations you will have from your tenants. These should be in the contract and will include keeping the property in a good state of repair. So it’s give and take. But there is one issue which is starting to come up again and again and one on which landlord advice might be welcome. Pets or no pets?

The rental property market is on the rise, as the housing market remains slow in the wake of the credit crunch. Essentially there are more people out there looking for decent places to rent and many of them will have a pet as part of the package. Historically landlords have always said a firm no to pets of any kind, citing damage and mess as reasons for refusal. But for today’s landlord advice is really to weigh up the pros and cons, as there could be benefits as well as problems.

If you make the decision to become a pet-friendly landlord then there is every chance that you will never have a problem filling your properties because you will be among the minority to offer this to tenants. You will most likely also find your tenants stay put for longer, as they won’t want the hassle of trying to find another pet-friendly property.

You may be able to benefit financially by allowing pets, too. If you are worried about potential damage or disrepair, you could ask for a higher deposit to cover any extra bills (don’t forget you will need to return this in full if the property is left in a good condition). Since your properties will be in higher demand, you will also be able to ask for slightly higher rents, which tenants are often happy to pay if it means they can keep their pet at home with them.

Of course, there are good reasons why landlords traditionally don’t allow pets. Damage and destruction are real possibilities and boisterous animals can do considerable harm to a property which can cost a lot to put right. Neighbours often don’t want noisy animals living next door and there is always the issue of mess, particularly with dog owners who aren’t considerate enough to pick it up.

In some cases, you simply aren’t legally allowed to let pets in to the property, particularly in the case of leasehold flats, so you won’t be able to amend your policies even if you want to in this instance.

So it really is a case of using your discretion and weighing up the possibilities. Pet owners will jump at the chance to rent a pet-friendly property, but you must make sure you are well covered legally in case of any issues.

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