11:25 AM, 24th November 2020, About 11 months ago 1
The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) has issued new guidance on domestic animals in rented properties following the surge in pet ownership during lockdown.
According to the Kennel Club, two out of five new puppy owners this summer bought their pet as a ‘Covid companion’, and two thirds of new dog owners agreed their pet was a ‘lifeline’ during lockdown. In addition, more than half (53%) of privately renting tenants surveyed by YouGov for Mars Petcare agreed they would consider a longer tenancy if their landlord supported pet ownership.
Matt Trevett, Managing Director at The DPS, said: “Many people have turned to new pets during the pandemic as a source of companionship and fun during this difficult year.
“Being able to accommodate their pet will be a decisive factor when tenants consider where to live, and landlords who allow domestic animals may see increased demand for longer tenancies.
“Landlords should as ever ensure the paperwork reflects any changes to the terms of the tenancy and be clear about any rules applying to new pets. Tenants should also understand and respect any obligations that come with their new companions and consider any changes that are necessary to their tenancy agreements to reduce the chances of issues when they move out.”
Below is The DPS’ guidance on key considerations for tenants and landlords when arranging tenancies involving pets.
Pets can mean premiums:
Many tenants who would like to change their tenancy to allow them to keep a pet expect a proportionate increase in the cost of their accommodation, and landlords will want to ensure that the price a renter pays reflects the nature of their tenancy. However, landlords cannot ask for a separate deposit to cover pet damage.
Some pets are non-negotiable:
If a tenant has a disability and requires an assistance dog, a landlord must enable them to have the animal inside the property.
Get the right insurance:
Landlords should check that their property’s insurance policy includes accidental pet damage, a feature that is not always standard. Landlords may need to alter or find a new policy to ensure coverage.
Put ‘pet rules’ in writing:
Landlords should set out in writing any limits on pet ownership at the property, including the type/number of pet(s) allowed and whether the tenant can or cannot breed the animal on site. Landlords should share the document with the tenant and both sides should sign it and keep a copy in case there are disputes or damage at a later stage.
Ask for a pet reference:
A reference from the previous landlord can show how well-behaved a tenant’s pet is. If the tenant hasn’t lived with the animal before, asking for a vet’s reference can help landlords understand whether the animal is aggressive or has received its vaccinations and flea treatments. Landlords can also ask to meet the tenant with their pet (socially distanced!) as part of the pre-tenancy checking process.
Tenants who live alone or are elderly and who become ill or have to go into hospital can provide a landlord with an emergency contact to ensure somebody will look after their pet. Landlords can also ask for this information during the reference checking process.
Arrange regular inspections:
Landlords and tenants should agree regular inspections to assess and discuss the condition of the property, which can reduce the chances of a dispute about any pet-related damage at the end of the tenancy.
For more information, see:
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