“Landlords, Tenants, Dogs, Pets” is part 7 of my latest series of articles entitled “My first intentional property investment“
Ever since I was a kid I loved dogs, I didn’t even mind the ones that used to snap at my fingers and try to break the door down to rip me to pieces when I had a paper round in my youth. In fact, I found the prospect of taunting them a bit of fun, probably because we had dogs ourselves. I had the MacDaddy of all dogs, a huge long haired German Sheppard called Zak who used to take me for walks.
Being a pet owner myself I suppose I’ve always had sympathy for tenants who are constantly faced with adverts with that same old text at the end “no pets”. Where are those pet owners supposed to live?
If you are the sort of person who doesn’t like pets, you are alergic to cats and/or dogs or you want somebody else to manage your properties there really isn’t much point in you reading any more of this article. You will be better off scrolling to the bottom of this article and reading another in this series. Same goes for anybody who lets bedsits, HMO’s or student lets only. However, if you do like animals, you do manage your own properties, they are a decent size suburban property and you want really good tenants who are likely to stick around for a very long time read on.
I think I have developed a sixth sense which enables me to suss out pets and their owners. It’s this sixth sense which allows me to know which ones to allow in my properties. I also believe that the owners are the problem more often than the pets. Pet owners with the ability to train their animals to behave properly make great tenants. If somebody has a well behaved animal now, that’s because that animal is well trained and the likelihood is that the next one will be too.
Creating opportunities “PETS CONSIDERED”
Try adding a line in your lettings adverts saying “PETS CONSIDERED” and see for yourself what happens. You can even add 10% onto the market rent in your advert and you will still get more enquiries I can assure you. The reason is simply this, it’s a captive market. Lettings agents always advertise “no pet no smokers” so that’s a huge chunk of the market immediately ruled out. Could this be your niche?
Get to know the owners – get to know the pets
The best way to do this is to meet your prospective tenants at their home, meet their pets, have a chat with them, take them to see your property, then go back and have a cup of tea and complete an application form. You will then see how they live, how the pet lives and how it behaves whilst the owner is out and when they come back home. look for tell tale problem signs, the backs or doors and door frames are classics. Try go get a glimpse of the pets food bowl and it’s toys. Most importantly, take a look at the back garden. If all is good in those departments you are probably OK. I’m not the slightest bit bothered if a dog barks at me when I get to the front door. In fact, it’s a good thing, they are protecting where they live. If they jump all over me or worse still the owner locks them away I always make a point to say that I love pets and i would love to meet them. If I can’t meet their pets, they can’t rent my house or bungalow. That’s my #1 rule. When I do meet the pets I study how they react, if they go wild, run around the house knocking things over and jumping all over me that’s another simple decision for me, especially if the owner can’t control their pet. Cats are never an issue!
I’ve met several landlords who provide me with lots of horror stories about letting to pet owners. If only they followed these very simple tips though, the likelihood of having problems would be significantly reduced if not completely diminished.
Pet owners rent for longer
I have no more scientific evidence beyond this over and above gut instinct supported by a bit of logic. I welcome pets if they come with good pet owners. There aren’t many landlords like me so pet owners think long and hard before they move out of my properties and onto the next one.
One final piece of advice, trust your gut instincts. If you are worried, don’t give in for an extra months deposit, just say no.
In preperation for writing this article and getting the SEO right I did a Google search and came across a website called PetFriendlyRentals.co.uk What a great idea I thought, so I did a search based on my post code – “no results found”. I kept extending the area until I found a property, I included no search filters. Eventually I found one within 50 miles! If this doesn’t show why you can pick and choose in a very large niche (we are after all a Nation of pet owners) and pretty much dictate the rent and avoid the voids I don’t know what will.
OTHERS ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES
Part four – My first property management checklist
Part five – Buy to Let Maintenance Budgets
Part six - Do landlords have to provide lawnmowers?
YOU ARE HERE >>> Part seven – Landlord, Tenants, Dogs, Pets
Part eight - Vintage 2003
BONUS ARTICLE >>> My relationship with Leathes Prior Solicitors and Property118
Part ten - Online Letting Agents Review
About Mark Alexander
Mark and his family have been investing in property since 1989, initially in the Norwich area but more recently across the length and breadth of England. Mark created Property118.com as a social network for landlords with a vision of becoming the UK's best respected online property community. Mark is also a freelance internet marketing consultant to law firms Email - firstname.lastname@example.org