No wiggle room for pets

by Property 118

13:35 PM, 28th January 2020
About 8 months ago

No wiggle room for pets

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No wiggle room for pets

At the start of the year, Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, announced an overhaul of model tenancy contracts to put more pressure on landlords to allow ‘responsible tenants to have well-behaved pets’ in their rental property.

However, leading lettings and estate agent, Benham and Reeves, believe this is the latest in a long line of ill-thought-through policy that further hurts the people they are meant to protect while further penalising the nation’s buy-to-let landlords and the financial return on their investment.

There are around 27.2m households in the UK, 4.5m of which are within the private rental sector. With an estimated 44% of households owning a pet, that’s 1.98m tenants looking for pet-friendly rental homes. However, currently, just 7% of landlords advertise their rental property as being suitable for pets but the government wants to now change restrictions to force more landlords to open up their homes to pet-loving tenants.

But despite this, Benham and Reeves has already seen a dramatic rise in the number of landlords saying no to pets, not because of the impending changes, but because of the unintended consequences of the already implemented ban on tenant fees.

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, commented: 

“Since the government banned tenant fees capping deposits at no more than five weeks’ rent, landlords have been left with no wiggle room when it comes to the potential damage caused by pets and as a result, 90% of our landlords are now saying no to pets with many of those already within a rental property being notified they will have to leave once they reach the renewal stage.

Landlords ultimately have to put their financial interests first and the government’s continued attack on buy-to-let profit margins is unfortunately what’s fuelled this further friction between landlord and tenant.

We have already heard of multiple tenants who have sadly had to get rid of their pets and while some have managed to rehome them, there have been a number of occasions where they’ve tragically had to be put down.”

But surely the incoming changes to tenancy contracts will no longer allow landlords to remove a tenant due to their pet?

Marc continues: “It isn’t a case of not letting tenants renew, landlords just won’t take them on in the first place. It already happens currently, with such overwhelming demand for rental homes in contrast to such low stock levels, landlords already have multiple tenants applying for one property and so they will simply choose the one who doesn’t come with the additional baggage of a pet.”

And this isn’t an issue restricted to those with pets.

Since the tenant fee ban, Benham and Reeves has seen an increase in the number of landlords who are refusing tenants with children under the age of 10 as a result of the deposit cap, which is making it much harder for young families to rent.

So what is the solution?

Benham and Reeves believe a realistic approach to rental deposits will mean rents don’t increase unnecessarily.

“Calling on landlords not to ban pets won’t do anything, landlords need protection and this has to come in the form of an upfront deposit to cover the potential damage caused by pets or even young children.

The government believes charging more rent is the answer, but this is even more detrimental to the tenant when it comes to the issue of affordability and, it’s money that they have no claim on, come the end of the tenancy, unlike an additional tenancy deposit.

We have a number of clients that charge £30 per week extra for a dog, £25 per week more for a cat. Over the length of a 12-month tenancy that’s an additional £1,300 to £1,560. While many pet owners appreciate that taking on a pet comes at a cost, it would make far more sense to let the landlord charge two weeks extra rent as a deposit and have them hold it for the duration, returning some if not all of it at the end.

On a property that rents for £2,000 per month, that’s an additional £1,000 and if the tenant stays for say three years, they pay no more, whereas additional rent charges could total £5,000 and upwards in that time.”

Comparable stats
Number of households = 27.2 million (2017) link
Number of households private rental sector = 4.5 million (2017) link
% of households with a pet = 44% link
Number of households with a pet = 11.97 million
Estimated number of private rental sector households with a pet = 1.98 million
(based on proportions in relation to all households – where 44% of households have a pet of some type)


Comments

Ian Narbeth

18:41 PM, 28th January 2020
About 8 months ago

I fear we may be foisted with the canine and feline equivalent of Section 12 of The Allotments Act 1950 - see https://www.property118.com/landlords-must-let-tenants-keep-chickens-and-rabbits/
After all every PRS property can accommodate at least 20 well-behaved cats and a dozen house-trained Great Danes.

I expect Councils and Housing Associations will be excluded.

paul robinson

10:10 AM, 29th January 2020
About 8 months ago

Government – “you can't have your pet foot and also eat it too” 😉

Tenant fee ban, Scrapping section 21 - but you want landlords to take even more risk with pets.

Laughable!!

WP

8:43 AM, 30th January 2020
About 8 months ago

whatever next? Pets signing the TA on the promise of their owner being good? Jeeeez...

David Lawrenson

17:24 PM, 30th January 2020
About 8 months ago

Oh dear, so now the reality of restricting tenancy deposits to five weeks (or 6 weeks if rent is over £50K) is dawning on the government and their supporters in the likes of Generation Rent and Shelter.

Back in June 2017, (when news broke that the government were going to restrict deposits as part of their tax and regulation assault on the PRS, (they had initially planned to limit them to one month)), I wrote a blog predicting that casualties of this would be folks with pets and the more "marginal tenants", especially those on full or partial benefits.
You can read that here:
https://www.lettingfocus.com/blogs/2017/06/tenants-deposits-to-be-limited-to-one-month/

And so it has come to pass.
Entirely predictable.

So, now they would like to kindly "persuade" private landlords to take pets.

David Lawrenson
http://www.LettingFocus.com
Consultancy advice on the private rented sector

Mick Roberts

8:46 AM, 1st February 2020
About 8 months ago

We now have more news, pets are now being put down cause Landlords won't take 'em.

https://propertyindustryeye.com/agent-says-huge-rise-in-landlords-banning-pets-has-led-to-animals-being-put-down/

Unbelievable isn't it. If the tenant was allowed to pay a higher deposit to cover potential pet damage. And if the pet caused no damage, tenant gets deposit back, job done.
That way only those that caused damage, ie. 10% would pay for THEIR OWN DAMAGE.
The way Govt have it now is, EVERYONE loses. And now this horrendous reaction of pets now losing their lives.
U would think the Govt and Councils would actually talk to us on ground level to ask what we think. As they ALWAYS get it wrong and us in the actual job get it right cause we doing it day in. day out.


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