Cat and dog allergy issues?

Cat and dog allergy issues?

10:55 AM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago 20

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The government have decided to allow people to have pets whether or not the landlord agrees with this: “The government has released its latest standard model tenancy agreement to cater for responsible tenants with well-behaved pets. Under the new Model Tenancy Agreement, announced by Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, landlords will no longer be able to issue blanket bans on pets. Instead, consent for pets will be the default position, and landlords will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason.” Click here for the article

This rather foolish policy is going to lead to some very high bills for a landlord who is forced to have an animal like a cat or dog in their property without the tenant being in a position to clean the property or repair furniture damage after the animal leaves.

I have 2 animals in particular in mind here. Cats and dogs. Cats can damage furniture, spray a property and leave all the carpets covered in dander. Dogs can have a similar effect and can damage furniture badly.

Some tenants are extremely sensitive to cat or dog allergens. They may insist on the replacement of carpets or the redecoration of the house. This is a particular issue with cats.

Two of my tenants have asked to have a cat. I have asked them to guarantee that they will return my property to a “cat-free” standard after they leave. They suggested I use the deposit. The issue with this is that their deposit is low – 5 weeks rent thank you Tories- and comes nowhere near to replacing damaged furniture, replacing carpets or redecorating the house. Nor will the deposit pay for an allergic tenant who may arrive say a year later and then begin have these problems.

My tenants have offered to get a furniture insurance policy. This has a maximum damage level of £800. This very low compared to buying new furniture.

Has anyone here got the name of a company that can provide good insurance for pet damage?
Does anyone here charge an amount for “pet rent” to tenants?
Does anyone know a company that will clean a house after a cat or dog has left to remove all traces of allergens?

I would love to email the MP who suggested this scheme and ask them for some answers. Does anyone know who it was?

Stewart



Comments

by Neil Patterson

10:38 AM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

Hi Stewart,

The Minister that announced the policy was: Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and over the last year more people than ever before have welcome pets into their lives and homes.

“But it can’t be right that only a tiny fraction of landlords advertise pet friendly properties and in some cases people have had to give up their beloved pets in order to find somewhere to live.

“Through the changes to the tenancy agreement we are making today, we are bringing an end to the unfair blanket ban on pets introduced by some landlords. This strikes the right balance between helping more people find a home that’s right for them and their pet while ensuring landlords’ properties are safeguarded against inappropriate or badly behaved pets.”

by Jason McClean

10:55 AM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

Hi Stewart

Sadly most landlord policies exclude damage by pets. I don't know of any that offer it.

That may change as it becomes more of an issue, but given the propensity for damage and claims, I doubt it will be a cheap option.

Personally, I have allowed pets in the past to my own properties but required an increased deposit and a pet clause in the AST that means the tenant has to pay for professional cleaning/repairs for any pet damage.

Hope this helps.

by DSR

11:01 AM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

Jut don't use the Government tenancy agreement. Mine says no pets allowed end of. If the tenant gets one anyway without notice and I see it at LL check (or another tenant alerts me of one) then I will ask them to find it alternative accommodation or they will be issued with a notice to leave. If the tenant asks in writing for a pet, I will then write back saying it is not suitable in the circumstances (most of mine are flats with no garden). My property I set the rules and if you don't like it look to rent elsewhere. I have had too many bad experiences with pets (all of which were got after the tenant moved in an unbeknown to me). The only pet I have allowed is one tiny dog with an older lady in a ground floor flat. I had to up the rent so that the deposit was larger to accommodate for this and the contract said that a new carpets will be charged for once she leaves as standard because she has a dog. She agreed...although she did come back to me 6 months later to say the dog is viewed as a 'dependency' dog by Victim Support (she was assaulted and stressed by the event), and could I reduce the rent accordingly as the dog is a necessity!!! I replied back that while I understand the situation, no matter what the dog is classified as, it is still a dog and therefore no the rent stays the same and so do the tenancy terms! Some tenants....

by DSR

11:14 AM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jason McClean at 19/02/2021 - 10:55
Great in principle but when you house benefit tenants you know in advance that any damage will not be covered by the deposit (you tend to keep the deposit fully apportioned to rent arears/court costs which are usually the case) and you wont get anything out of them personally for pet damage.
Some councils pay a Bond instead of a deposit and they don't cover pets either - they only pay out on rent arrears or damage by tenant, despite them seeing the TA that says no pets!
You could agree in principle to a pet if they show you THEY have taken out pet insurance etc to cover themselves but of course none of them will do that as it costs too much and again you are reliant on them making a claim against this to pay you for the damage.....

by Tessa Shepperson

11:19 AM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

The law has NOT been changed to force landlords to allow tenants to keep a pet. The gov't have just amended their model tenancy agreement which, so far as I am aware, not many people use anyway.

See my post on this here: https://landlordlawblog.co.uk/2021/02/09/the-law-has-not-been-changed-to-allow-tenants-to-keep-pets/

by TheBiggerPicture

11:23 AM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

Again unbalance legislation.
Landlords have to manage their properties.
The government has taken away the ability to manage this aspect, but still left landlords with the consequences.
The government wants this legislation, so they should be held liable for the consequences.

It never would have passed if the government were held responsible for their actions.

by Judith Wordsworth

11:23 AM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

Its not an automatic right for tenants to be allowed to have pets, of any sort, under the "Model AST".
Certainly if a leasehold property it will be dictated by what the Freeholder and your lease states.

by JB

12:29 PM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

I've had to rip out carpets and scrub the floorboards with bleach to try and get rid of that wonderful cat pee odour.

Can anyone suggest how to document smell on an inventory? Can I post the smell to a judge?

by James D

12:31 PM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Tessa Shepperson at 19/02/2021 - 11:19
Good clarification there and as with comment by RL if we use our own TA ( I tend to use RLA) , they are still legally binding if it excludes pets? Sounds a no-brainier to me.

by Simon M

12:59 PM, 19th February 2021, About 8 months ago

Letters to the Housing Minister will be dealt with by his department - the minister probably doesn't even see it and I think the department rarely replies. Write to your local MP (include your home address) who will feel a responsibility to reply. If they think the point is well made, they'll write to the minister. The minister is obliged to reply to your MP, he may not draft it but will sign it. And your MP will send it to you.

For me the biggest issue is the deposit cap rather than pets. If I think a tenant is responsible I'll allow a dog subject to a larger deposit to cover a deep clean at the end of tenancy and some of the potential damage.

As others have said the law hasn't changed and the deposit cap isn't enough so despite an excellent tenant I refused the last request.

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