Government expects pets to ‘act in a tenant like manner’?

by Readers Question

11:17 AM, 22nd March 2021
About 4 weeks ago

Government expects pets to ‘act in a tenant like manner’?

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Government expects pets to ‘act in a tenant like manner’?

Most AST agreements now contain a clause similar to “Not keep any animals, reptiles, insects, rodents or birds at the Property without our written permission (which will not be unreasonably withheld)”. With the government wishing to encourage greater flexibility in the approach to pet ownership, two issues are of concern to landlords:

1. Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said in Parliament recently:
“A good reason for a landlord to decline a pet ownership request would be where a pet is demonstrably poorly behaved or unsuited for the premises in question, for example, a large dog in a small flat, or where other tenants have allergies to animals”.
Later, he added:
“The landlord should accept such a request where he/she is satisfied the tenant is a responsible pet owner AND the pet is of a kind that is suitable in relation to the nature of the premises at which it will be kept”.
My concern is how can a landlord decline a pet ownership request before the pet has been installed and demonstrated poor behaviour?
Similarly, how can the landlord satisfy him/herself that the tenant is, or should we more properly say ‘will be’, a responsible pet owner without prior evidence?

2. The deposit is meant to recover costs at the end of a tenancy due to the actions of the tenants, their children and other named persons. At a later date, the government expect pets to be included within the deposit amount with no permitted increase to the deposit or permit an additional (pet) deposit. It would be safe to argue that the government expect pets to act as a human, in other words; ‘to act in a tenant like manner’, to cause no additional damage or costs against the deposit.

The latter point, I believe, is of the greatest concern to most landlords.

The proposal I wish to put up for discussion is this:
At the start of the tenancy, assume that a pet will occupy the property that is not that well-behaved and, at the end of the tenancy, there will probably be a need to replace carpets, redecorate walls, fumigate and so on. If the rent is set with scenario in mind, the idea is to explain the rent to your prospective tenant(s) adding that should the tenant(s) not want to keep pets then a formal or informal discount will be given against the rent.

Will this work legally?
Are there any account or Self Assessment implication?

PJB

Comments

PJB

21:31 PM, 29th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Jessie Jones at 29/03/2021 - 20:15
The landlord is free to set whatever rent he/she wishes. The landlord is entitled to give a rebate to a tenant for all sorts of reasons e.g. use of off street parking, disturbance by tradespeople, anything!
It has nothing to do with the deposit except that the maximum deposit that could be charged could go up slightly because of the higher rent. However this should be avoided since it could be argued in court that the rebate idea was devised to increase the deposit rather than its real intention of amicably allowing tenants to keep pets.

Roberta Goodall

22:11 PM, 29th March 2021
About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Richie at 29/03/2021 - 12:25
Try getting pet insurance that insures you for damage that a puppy causes! Our pup pulled up our new vinyl flooring in the kitchen at the door and when we opened the door it ripped a large chunk off. The insurance company's attitude was 'Well, what did you expect, she's a puppy!'

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