Landlords, Tenants, Dogs, Pets

by Mark Alexander

6 years ago

Landlords, Tenants, Dogs, Pets

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Landlords, Tenants, Dogs, Pets

“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.

Landlord Tenants and Pets

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 one – My first intentional buy to let property investment

Part two – Tips on becoming a buy to let property investor

Part three – Lessons learned whilst building my buy to let portfolio

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 sevenLandlord, Tenants, Dogs, Pets

Part eight – Vintage 2003

BONUS ARTICLE >>> My relationship with Leathes Prior Solicitors and Property118

Part nine – Perfect tenant of 6 years turns heroin addicted prostitute – EVICTED!

Part ten – Online Letting Agents Review



Comments

6 years ago

Another great article Mark
I always said a firm NO to pets in our rental properties. A few years ago we had a great family apply for a property. At the 11th hour they mentioned that they had an Alsation! Hmmm. I gave it some thought. I had always owned big dogs and my house was always clean and tidy. I called the guy to say I'll drop some forms over to his current address in half an hour. (sneak inspection). I added 50% to the deposit and they have been with us years. I just do an annual inspection now as the wife has ADD when it comes to cleaning 🙂

Mark Alexander

6 years ago

Cheers Francis - QED

John Bolland

6 years ago

"cats are not an issue" They if they have sharp claws and are unrestrained as one of my leather sofas will testify.............

Mark Alexander

6 years ago

Fair point, I've only ever furnished flats and I don't allow animals in them (unfair on the animals IMHO) so I've never had that problem.

I have oftern wondered why more landlords dont accept pets. As you say Mark tenants often stay longer and responsible pet owners usually ensure the property is kept in good condition. I have always accepted pets in both holiday lets and rentals my only exception being reptiles- they have a habit of escaping into nooks and crannies and no one wants a snake turning up months later!
Any landlord who would like to consider letting to dog owners in particular should visit Dogs Trust website ( look up Dogs A-Z and type in L ( for letting) and there is a Lets for Pets campaign to encourage landlords and their agents to consider pets and there are downloadable advice booklets and practical tips.

Jim Squire

6 years ago

I would never let to pets. I feel the risk is too great. The useful information regarding meeting people in their home is something I have always done. I can tell instantly if the prospective tenants are going to take care of the property

Mark Alexander

6 years ago

You obviously have your reasons for considering the risk to be too great Jim, may I ask what they are?

Jim Squire

6 years ago

Hi Mark Before I let any property The whole place is decorated from ceiling to floor. I replace carpets ,curtains and lampshades. Every prospective tenant that looks at my property wants it. I charge a very fair rent. The average time my tenants stay is between 3 and 4 years.
I have heard many stories of animals causing so many problems from friends of mine who also let properties. Whilst I am sure many looks after their pets responsibly I prefer not to take pets for the reasons stated. I am also amazed at landlords stating ' I made an excuse to check the property' As a landlord I make it absolutely clear that I will be inspecting the property from time to time. if the property is being taken care of there is no objections.
By the way i am an animal lover!
jim

6 years ago

Jim, if you decorate and recarpet before every letting why not accept dogs/cats?
You're not going to have any extra expense and you can up the rents acheived.
I do!

Paul Willetts

A year ago

Hi there, I've just searched and found this thread...I have a potential long term tenant interested in my rental. She has a St Bernard, notorious for drooling!!!! That said, she has agreed to pay double deposit, 12 months rent upfront and upon vacation, agreed to professionally clean all carpets. The property needs refreshing now (at a cost of £2k) but I won't need to spend that as she is happy with it in it current state...

My initial gut feeling was...NO CHANCE... but actually, what can the dog do that won't be fixed??


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