Christmas struggles for renters seeking pet-friendly rental properties

Christmas struggles for renters seeking pet-friendly rental properties

0:03 AM, 22nd December 2023, About 6 months ago 14

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Finding a pet-friendly rental property during the festive season is proving to be a tough challenge for renters.

According to research by Zero Deposit, only 9% of rental properties in England are listed as pet-friendly – that’s just over 8,000 out of 94,000 rental properties.

However, the Renters’ (Reform) Bill will soon force landlords to have a “good reason” not to let tenants keep a pet.

London boasts the highest total number of pet-friendly rentals

According to research by Zero Deposit, the South West is home to the highest proportion of pet-friendly rentals, but even still, just 15% of current rental properties available to tenants are listed as such.

The South East (11%) and East of England (10%) also boast some of the highest proportions of pet-friendly stock, although this only equates to around one in 10 rental properties.

However, it’s London that boasts the highest total number of pet-friendly rentals. Of the 8,343 pet-friendly properties currently available to tenants across the nation, 3,439 are found within the capital, accounting for 41% of all pet-friendly rentals across England.

The research reveals the current asking rent for a pet-friendly rental property is £1,719 per month.

Pet insurance

Under the new reforms, landlords will be required to fully consider all requests on a case-by-case basis.

A landlord must give or refuse consent in writing on or before the 42nd day after the date of the request, although there are some exceptions detailed in the Bill.

As part of the Renters’ (Reform) Bill, the government will amend the Tenant Fees Act 2019 to include pet insurance as a permitted payment.

This means landlords can require pet insurance from their tenants to cover any damage to their property.

Landlords apprehensive about pets

Sam Reynolds, chief executive officer of Zero Deposit, says many landlords are nervous when renting out to pets.

He said: “A pet is a huge commitment, and it should be carefully considered regardless of your living status.

“For many tenants, the cost of renting is already substantial and so they need to be confident that they can afford the additional outgoings of pet food, insurance and the often inevitable vet bills.”

He added: “The good news is that while pet-friendly rentals may be hard to come by, changes are being made to make renting with a pet more widely accessible.

“Of course, it’s important to remember that while a rental property is your home, it’s also someone else’s investment and so you should be rightfully prepared to cover the cost of any damages caused.

“Many landlords may understandably be apprehensive about pets within their rental property, but in many cases, a clear and upfront line of communication is the best plan of action for tenants when considering introducing a pet to their home.”


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Comments

L Bennett

10:02 AM, 22nd December 2023, About 6 months ago

Landlords need to remember that the rental property is not their home. I allow pets in my rental with consideration to the welfare of the animal and the type of animal. Any damage is to be paid for but more so that no nuisance is caused to neighbours and that the pets are not neglected (left alone for long periods etc)
Many people are working from home now so establish these facts before turning down pets. Also make sure regular inspections are done. Aiming for happy landlord, happy tenant and happy pet.

Martin Roberts

10:16 AM, 22nd December 2023, About 6 months ago

Important to factor in the cost of owning a pet when looking at affordability.

Many new owners greatly underestimate the cost of a cat or dog, and if there’s an unexpected vet's bill or the rent to pay…

Southern Boyuk

10:26 AM, 22nd December 2023, About 6 months ago

LB, all that is fine until changes in the tenants situation and e.g the dog is left at home for long periods, it becomes a nuisance or is stressed. The tenant becomes non-compliant despite your request in writing and stating it’s a breach of tenancy.. You receive complaints from neighbours and still nothing happens. You again speak to the tenant that it’s a breach if tenancy and they either address the Dog issue or leave the property They they do not reply or ignore you. You find out that they’d stopped paying pet insurance, Then you have the nightmare of what to do next, relationships get worse, you can’t get them out.
These are, of course other considerations and possibilities to consider when agreeing to pets.

northern landlord

10:34 AM, 22nd December 2023, About 6 months ago

This whole idea of pet insurance seems fraught. In my experience, while landlords supply building insurance most tenants don’t even insure their own stuff so cannot be relied on to take out and maintain pet damage insurance even if such a thing exists. While normal contents insurance will cover sudden unexpected breakages caused by pets it does not cover things like clearing up fouling damage, and damage caused by scratching and gnawing door frames and the like which is what most landlords are concerned about.
What is needed are separate policies that a landlord can take out and maintain that will actually properly cover this sort of thing. The premiums can then be made known to the tenants and added to the rent. I don’t think such a policy exists, if it does it is likely to be case specific and expensive

Beaver

12:19 PM, 22nd December 2023, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Roberts at 22/12/2023 - 10:16
That's right. The tenant probably needs to factor in pet insurance along with their other affordability calculations because if something goes wrong they may not be able to afford both the vet bill and the rent.

Raz

14:47 PM, 22nd December 2023, About 6 months ago

In my personal experience, if any damage HAS been caused then it was down to the tenants and not the pets. Damages aside, all my tenants have stayed long term (I'm sure partly because of being allowed to have pets in the first place). We charge £20 extra a month, which taken over the course of a minimum 5 yr tenancy (my average) is more than enough to replace carpets and touch up paintwork- which would have probably been due by then anyway.

The only other requirement I insist on is a guarantor for the pet in our pet agreement- ie someone who signs that they will agree to take on the responsibility of the pet/s in the case of an emergency or should they be evicted/abscond and leave the pets behind, and who the tenant gives permission to access the property for the welfare of the pets. We also ask for their vet's details, and agreement for their pet to be treated at their cost/guarantor's cost should the need arise.
It has always worked very well so far, and we even had a situation where the tenant dropped all communication, but this agreement allowed the pet guarantor to go in and check the pets (and tenant/property while they were there😉) were ok without the hassle of court or council interference. Some may call that back-dooring "private enjoyment", but in reality it was just safe-guarding for both sides.

Beaver

17:00 PM, 22nd December 2023, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Raz at 22/12/2023 - 14:47
In my experience tenants' children do way more damage than pets. But insurance is an issue both to protect the property and to be sure that the tenants are able to pay their rent.

Cider Drinker

10:19 AM, 23rd December 2023, About 6 months ago

Tenants with pets find it even more difficult to move home (because pet-friendly places are few and far between).

This means their landlord can charge a premium rent and will have fewer void periods.

Ian Simpson

7:59 AM, 24th December 2023, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Cider Drinker at 23/12/2023 - 10:19
Well I am a landlord AND a veterinary surgeon! We tend to allow pets when asked, with the proviso that any damage is repaired etc. Of course, this rarely happens in practice and we just take the hit when the tenants move out. Example : Tenants had cats (I love cats!!) but they peed everywhere and scratched all the door frames and wallpaper, and their kids drew on every wall with wax crayons, so a full re-carpeting and painting job needed when they moved out ... Total cost £3200, TDS awarded us £280 from the deposit...!! This is normal!! Dog owners don't realise the smell left in carpets by their dogs, but a new non-dog owning tenant will notice immediately (Similar to a non-smoker noticing the stench from the previous smoking tenant). SO a full re-carpet is ALWAYS needed after a dog-owning tenant. As I say to my dog owning clients AND tenants, pets, and especially dogs, are a very very expensive luxury these days. Anyway, we continue to be fairly easy regarding accommodating these people...!!

Jason

19:24 PM, 25th December 2023, About 6 months ago

What’s wrong with a goldfish these days?

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