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As tenant demand for pets rises and the government aims to stop landlords from banning renters keeping animals, letting agents and landlords need to be vigilant in identifying property damage caused by pets.

Government plans to allow pets in rentals gather pace

Over recent months, the government has made it clear that it wants to make it easier for tenants to keep pets in rental properties.

LOFT – MPU

The Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill, which proposes to make it a right for tenants to have domestic animals in rental properties, is currently awaiting its second reading as it moves through Parliament.

Meanwhile, in January 2021, the government announced that it had rewritten its model standard tenancy agreement to include more ‘pet-friendly’ elements, making it easier for tenants to be able to keep ‘well-behaved’ pets.

According to No Letting Go, the UK’s largest provider of inventory services, by knowing what damage to look for, property professionals can ensure repairs are made before problems escalate while making relevant deductions from tenants’ deposits.

What are the most common types of pet property damage?

Alongside the obvious need for additional cleaning and banishing of animal odours, No Letting Go’s inventory experts have identified a range of specific issues agents and landlords should look out for if their tenants have pets.

These include cat flaps being fitted to doors and claw marks on doors, which are usually caused when dogs are excited to go out. Meanwhile, cats are more likely to be responsible for torn and frayed carpets at the bottom of stairs.

Landlords and agents also need to monitor for pet urine on the carpet which can seep through and damage the underlay if not dealt with properly.

Pet hairs are also commonly found on the back of curtains and blinds by inventory clerks carrying out property visits, No Letting Go reveals.

“As the demand for pet tenancies rises and the government aims to make it easier for renters to keep animals, agents and landlords need to have the measures in place to deal with the increased risk of property damage,” says Nick Lyons, Founder and CEO of No Letting Go.

“If managed effectively, allowing tenants to keep pets can encourage longer tenancies, increase demand for available properties and pave the way for higher average rents.”

“However, if pet tenancies are mishandled, landlords may have to foot the bill for thousands of pounds of repairs, while agents’ chances of retaining management of a property could be jeopardised,” he says.

“There are currently no rules to stop landlords from banning pets in their properties and they are not required to use the government’s model tenancy agreement,” adds Lyons.

“However, it’s clear we are moving towards a scenario where blanket bans on pets are no longer an option as the government looks to favour tenant-owning pets.”

“With this in mind, it’s time for letting agents and landlords to start preparing for a more pet-friendly PRS by making sure they have the right insurance in place, compile a detailed inventory and monitor damage through regular property inspections,” he says.

He says that the combination of a comprehensive inventory and regular inspections can help property professionals to prove damage caused by pets, as well as monitoring whether they can be deemed ‘well-behaved’.

“Having the necessary records and evidence of damage can make it easier for repairs and maintenance costs to be recouped from a tenant’s deposit at the end of a tenancy,” Lyons continues.

“There is no option to charge higher deposits for tenants with pets due to the Tenant Fees Act, so having a range of additional protective measures and procedures in place is absolutely vital to protect rental properties in the event that a tenant has pets,” he concludes.

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    5 Comments

    1. This Government is round the bend. They clearly have no idea what landlords already put up with. This all increases the running costs. I feel more rent rises coming. Landlords will need to take necessary precautions to protect their positions and increase everything to make all the extra nonesense worth while. The Conservative party are so anti landlords I think they must be trying to compete with the labour party. I stopped investing in residential about 3-4 years ago when it became so obvious the Conservatives were loosing a grip of things. Now is time to get out comlpetely. Shame they don’t put THEIR MONEY where the rather large mouths are and provide social housing so they can house their new friends and their status dogs! In the meantime it is a matter of protecting yourselves as best you can.

    2. You are right, Its time to get out of the property market!!! The Converserative party has become the labour party!!!!!!!

    3. Totally agree with you both .
      Grass in garden destroyed by wee .
      Poo everywhere . Carpets damaged. Fleas . Other tenants complaining about barking . Deposit insufficient to cover . Basically means that to protect landlords a guarantor will be needed for every let as will a comprehensive inventory .
      Landlord will lose out . As you say the era of being a landlord is well and truly over .

    4. When a pet has been in a property it will then restrict future tenants to those that have no animal allergies or asthma.
      How will this be accommodated in the Bill?

    5. I totally agree… it may be time to get out of the Buy 2 Let business, as it is now turning into Buy 2 Regret!!  I became a landlord in my twenties and guess what after 30 years as a landlord, I had to take a tenant to court (for the first time) that sneaked in a dog within 2 months of moving in. After giving the family notice to leave, I  eventually agreed for them to stay at the flat, with the dog as they pleaded with me… Based on the fact that I planned to do a major refurb at the end of their tenancy, I agreed as they said they will  take out a pet insurance, get their dog house trained and they offered to pay additional £100 rent per month – with a written agreement to repair any damage caused by the dog at the end of the tenancy. Whilst they did keep the property very homely, clean and tidy – the penny dropped when they moved out 3 years later. When I went to collect the keys I notice all the windows were left wide open at the back and front of the property. However, not  being clued up on dogs, I simply closed all the windows prior to leaving the flat. When I returned to the property 4 days later I could not understand where this very strong odour was comming from – until the penny dropped. It was their son’s pet dog that slept in his  bedroom.  I tried every thing to get rid of the odour, which included
      Painting the walls,  got the carpet professionally cleaned and it was only when the carpet was removed and the odour would not go away, I realised the urine was in the laminate flooring under the carpet. So I had to remove all the laminated flooring and that was when the fun started, as guess what? – these previous pleading tenants, didn’t want to pay for their house trained dog odour removal. So needless to say it took 18 months via the court and I was still out of pocket as I did not get back my 2 months loss of rent due.

      So for me that was the first and last time I would ever rent a property to a family with any form of animals with the exception of fishes….

      Time to cash in and treat myself to a nice Bentley – before I go bald…

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