The pros and cons of letting to tenants with pets

It’s estimated that nearly half of all British households have at least one pet.  And who wouldn’t want adorable puppy dog eyes greeting them upon their return home or to have a cat curled in their lap as they nestle on the sofa?  The problem is that many landlords do not allow their tenants to keep pets for fear that they cause additional wear and tear to the property.

Pet friendly

Image courtesy of www.redhoundfordogs.com
Image courtesy of www.redhoundfordogs.com

Dog’s Trust believes landlords should reconsider. “By adopting a pet friendly renting approach, you can easily increase demand for your property and attract long-term responsible tenants,” says the charity. It has launched a scheme called Lets with Pets to encourage landlords and letting agencies to consider letting to tenants with pets or tenants who might want a pet on the basis that it will not only give the property additional caché but will encourage tenants to make the property their home and therefore stay longer.

Of course, not every pet is suitable for every property. There’s a big difference between having a goldfish in a one-bedroom apartment and having a large dog. Some blocks of flats also specifically prohibit pets in the building.  Providing that pets are allowed by the freeholder, however, what should landlords consider when it comes to pets?

Is your property suitable?

Firstly, consider the property itself. A lower ground floor flat with a garden can be difficult to let, partly because such flats often lack natural light. For a pet-owning tenant, however, such properties are ideal as they provide outside space for a dog or cat to explore or run around. Properties with balconies or roof terraces are rarely attractive to pet-owning tenants due to the dangers of their pets climbing up on the railings or borders. Similarly, the size of the property is an important factor. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the flat, the smaller the pet. A budgie might be okay in a studio flat but if the tenant has a dog or cat, a large house or flat would be more appropriate.

Pedigree owners

The next issue is the tenants themselves. Both dogs and cats are social creatures so it’s important they get to spend ample time with their owners. Ideally, they should not be left alone all day while their owners go to work. If the tenant works from home or can take their pet to work with them, fantastic.  If they put in long hours at the office, though, have a thorough discussion as to how the pet-owning tenant plans to keep their dog or cat occupied during the day.

Our advice

The most important thing is to establish ground rules with the tenant. If the tenant already has a pet, ask the tenant’s former landlord if it was well behaved. Some tenants even have written references prepared from landlords, neighbours and veterinarians. If you do allow a pet, take a much higher deposit to ensure you’re covered for any damage, require that the pet be groomed regularly and have the managing agent make regular inspections of the property to assess wear and tear.

For more information regarding renting your property to a tenant with a canine companion contact one of our friendly negotiators here.

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About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents. With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from sixteen prominently located branches and five international offices.

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