Did you know that according to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (2014), almost half of all households in the UK are pet owners? It is an unfortunate fact that pet owning tenants find it hard to find a rental property where pets are accepted. Therefore, if you accept pets:
Most of the team at Revolution Property have had pets around the home all of their lives so we understand what an important part pets can play in people’s lives, this is why Revolution Property are proud to introduce our Lets For Pets scheme!
We aim to encourage our landlords to consider letting their properties to tenants with pets and we will support you and protect you in your decision to do so. We are also committed to working closely with those tenants that are looking to find a home for themselves and their pets.
Below are some of the benefits of accepting pet-owner tenants and some reassurance that allowing pets into your property reaps more rewards than you may think!
Increase demand for your property – Although half of households are thought to own pets, tenants with pets generally find that there is a shortage of pet-friendly properties. By allowing pets into your property, you will open it up to a wider market, which should increase demand.
Attract responsible tenants – Landlords often find that pet owners take better care of their property than the average tenant – possibly because they are concerned about losing their larger deposit.
Achieve a higher rent – Pet owning tenants are normally happy to pay that little bit extra to find a property that can home both them and their pet. You get more money and a higher return!
Reduce void periods – Tenants with pets know how difficult it is to find suitable rented accommodation so they tend to stay in properties for longer. This means Landlords will enjoy lower void periods and therefore a better return on your investment.
Avoid separating pets and their owners – If a tenant cannot find a suitable rental property, they may be forced to give up their pet or be separated from it, which can have an emotional impact on both the animal and the owner. By allowing pets into your property, you could help reduce these situations.
Interested in accepting pets now? Below are the next steps.
1. Before you give permission for a pet to be kept in your property, it’s important to check your title deeds and lease.
Even though you own your property, there may be certain stipulations in the deeds which prevent you from giving permission to tenants to keep pets. If you own a freehold property, there are usually no restrictions on keeping pets, although some older freeholds may have restrictions on keeping animals. If your lease does restrict or prohibit pets, you may wish to approach the freeholder or their managing agents to see whether they would be willing to change the terms of the lease or give you permission in writing to allow pets in your property by special variation. If you own a share of the freehold and all the other freeholders are in agreement, you should be able to amend the lease to allow pets, although you would need to contact a solicitor for advice.
2. Ask the right questions about the pet
Deciding that you are willing to consider pets does not mean that you must accept every pet. We recommend you consider each tenant and their pet on a case-by-case basis. You should also think about how many pets you would be willing to accept in your property. It’s reasonable to limit the number of pets, depending on the size of your property, but do bear in mind that some animals benefit from living in pairs so do not automatically enforce a “one pet only” rule. Revolution Property can provide you with a full checklist to guide you on what to ask prospective tenants. Here are some examples:
For all pet owners
– What type of pets do you own and how many?
– How long have you had your pets for?
– Are you able to provide a reference for your pet from a previous landlord?
– Do you have someone who can care for your pet in case of an emergency?
– Do you have someone who can care for your pet while you are away or on holiday?
For cat owners
– Is your cat trained to use a litter tray?
– Do you keep your cat inside or will it need to go outside of the property?
– Will your cat need a cat flap?
For dog owners
– How often will your dog be left at home alone and for how long?
– Do you have a dog sitter or dog walker for when you are not at home?
– Is your dog toilet trained?
– How does your dog get along with other people, such as visitors to the property?
– Has your dog ever lived with you in a block of flats?
3. We recommend that landlords ask tenants to provide a reference for their pets from a previous landlord if they have rented before.
The key points that should be covered in a pet reference are: – The name and breed of the pet – How long the tenant lived in the previous property with their pets – Which pets they owned at that time – Whether the referee considers the tenant to be a responsible pet owner – Whether the tenant’s pets well behaved – Details of any damage to the property caused by the pets – Whether the pets cause a nuisance to neighbours or visitors.
4. Once you have decided to rent your property to a tenant with a pet you should include a pet clause in your tenancy agreement.
Here’s an example of Revolution Property’s standard pet clause:
“It is further agreed between the Landlord and Tenant, the Landlord grants permission for the Tenant to keep his pet [type of animal and breed] named [name of pet] (“The Pet”) in The Property for the duration of the Tenancy and the Tenant hereby undertakes and agrees to remedy or pay for any damage caused to The Property and/or contents of The Property, including replacing carpets and fumigating The Property at the termination of The Tenancy, which shall have been caused by The Pet residing in The Property. For the avoidance of doubt any such damage caused shall not be deemed to be fair wear and tear. The Landlord reserves the right to withdraw this permission at any time.”
5. Ask for a higher deposit and a professional clean
There are a few steps you can take to minimise the risk of damage to your property:
Higher deposit – You can ask your tenant for a higher deposit to cover any damage that may be caused by their pets. Many landlords ask for the equivalent of an extra two weeks rent on top of their normal deposit.
Professional clean – All Revolution Property’s tenancy agreements state that tenants should professionally clean the property when they move out. However, if you are using a different tenancy agreement, you should amend it to include a similar requirement. This should include professionally cleaning all soft furnishings and carpets and treating the property for fleas and mites.
Landlords insurance – Check with your insurance company whether your landlord, building and contents insurance covers accidental pet damage or whether they offer an additional cover for tenants with pets. If they don’t we recommend some that do. You can also charge the tenant for the additional cost of this.
Frequently asked questions.
Q. What can be done to prevent odours caused by pets?
A. Tenants must keep the property clean and odour-free by regularly cleaning their pets’ cages. Dogs must not be allowed to foul inside the property and cats and indoor rabbits must use a litter tray that is regularly emptied.
Q. What about tenants with pet allergies?
A. It’s possible that tenants with pet allergies may move into a property where pets have previously lived. As
long as the property has been cleaned, vacuumed and aired thoroughly, they should not experience any problems.
Q. What about assistance dogs?
A. Assistance dogs, such as guide dogs, hearing dogs, and dogs for disabled people, must be permitted by law in your property. The Disability Discrimination Act (2005) prohibits anyone who is renting or selling a
property from discriminating against a disabled person. This includes discriminating against a person
with an assistance dog
Q. What about other laws relating to pet owners?
A. There are a number of laws that apply to pet owners in the UK such as the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the Animal Health and Welfare Act (Scotland) 2006 and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Full details can be found at www.gov.uk
Q. What about barking dogs?
A. If a dog kept in your property is barking and causing a nuisance to neighbours, you should insist that your tenant investigates the cause of the problem. Dogs bark for many different reasons, including excitement, fear, boredom, frustration, because they are guarding the home or because they cannot cope with being left alone. If the tenant is unable to solve the problem on their own, they should contact a veterinary surgeon, dog behaviourist or animal welfare organisation for advice.
Q. What about preventing fleas and worms?
A. Pets that receive regular preventative flea treatments rarely get fleas. If you are concerned about whether your tenant’s pets have been treated for fleas and worms, ask to see copies of their treatment records and insist the property is fumigated at the end of the tenancy.
Q. What about pets who are neglected or abandoned in my property?
A. If you are concerned about the welfare of an animal kept in your property or you think that a previous
tenant may have abandoned their pet, you should contact an animal welfare organisation immediately.
Q. What about dangerous dogs?
A. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 it is illegal for anyone to own or keep a Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino or Fila Brasilero, unless the dog is registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.
Ready to start accepting pets and maximise your returns? If you have any further questions about Lets For Pets, would like an accurate valuation of your property, or if you just need some sound, honest advice regarding any property matter whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to help.
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