With the demand for rented property at an all-time high, spare a thought for pet owners who are experiencing real difficulties finding rented accommodation that allows pets. As a so-called nation of animal lovers, this is somewhat ‘ruff’ on responsible pet-owning tenants. It does seem unfair and even discriminatory to refuse pets as landlords are simply trying to protect their investment as most are wary of the potential damage, noise complaints, and smells that can accompany a tenant with pets.
At Barbers, we work with The Dogs Trust and their ‘Lets with Pets’ campaign. They report that: “Landlords and letting agencies who exclude pet owners from their properties are missing out on a large share of the rental market, as almost half of households in the UK currently own a pet. By adopting a pet-friendly approach, you can easily increase demand for your property and attract long-term, responsible tenants.”
Once a tenant finds the utopia of a tenancy that allows a four-legged friend, they are far less likely to leave it. Since the tenant fee ban came into law in June of last year, it’s no longer possible to charge an additional ‘pet deposit’. However, most tenants will be willing to increase the rent by a small amount to account for additional wear and tear. For most people, a pet is like a member of the family and they take their ownership very seriously. To have a pet you need commitment, a regular income, and a responsible nature – all things you would list when you think about a desirable tenant.
I wouldn’t advocate accepting someone with five dogs and three cats in a three-bedroom semi-detached house but we do have a number of measures in place to ensure landlords and their properties are covered where tenants have pets, and I would be happy to discuss these with anyone who has an empty property or who has questions about letting to a tenant with any sort of pet.
As I look back on 2019 we really have been battered with legislative changes during the year culminating in the introduction of the tenant fees act which was the biggest change to hit our industry in decades. Despite this we have had another excellent year in our lettings department and in particular in the Newport area with the number of lets up by 10% on the previous year and an average increase on rents of between 3% and 4% plus the number of registered tenants on our books rising by 7%, this all points to a positive 2020!
Richard Heath FARLA, FNAEA, CRLM