Tenants trying to find a property they can call home is a difficult feat at the best of times, if they’ve got a little furry friend in tow, that difficultly level becomes even harder.
The amount of landlords willing to have pets in their property has dramatically dropped over the last few years, with the increased fears of the properties being ruined, or complaints of noise being made, had deterred many landlords to being open to the idea of allowing one.
Well, your property is probably one of the most expensive things you own, invite someone you didn’t know to live there, and to top it off they had a Labrador… Your stance on the situation would probably be very similar if you didn’t have any pets yourself.
Pets, especially dogs, have inherited a bad name due to the minority of owners that don’t train, discipline, or look after them properly. Which can stem to barking at all hours annoying the neighbours, resulting in noise complaints. Bored dogs that don’t get walked will find ways to entertain themselves, such as ripping up carpet, defecating indoors, digging unsightly holes in the garden, as well as many other frustrating traits.
But a pets temperament will be a result of their owners commandment and effort. So initially, focus your findings on the prospective tenant and how they come across. Determining aspects such as general attitude, personal hygiene, manners, and body language as part of judging their character and demeanour.
In a nut-shell, yes.
Individual assessments of each tenant and their pet will give you a better understanding of their lifestyle, and temperament of the pet too. Especially with the lockdown we’ve faced since the pandemic, pet ownership has soared!
Tapping into the market of tenants with pets could potentially command you higher rents for the privilege. Whether you justify the extra cost as covering the risk factor, or for the pure fact that you’re one of a few landlords with an open mind, it’ll usually be a win-win situation for both parties.
Ask for a Pet CV! A paged filled with information, a picture of them, and to demonstrate their behaviour, record of vaccinations, microchip information, as well as any further supporting evidence to strengthen the case of convincing you they’ll be a great pet.
And if you’re satisfied (and comfortable), ask to meet their pet. Just as you meet a tenant to judge their characteristics, do the same with their pet to rule out noisiness, and aggression. Preferably at the applicants current home to gauge what the condition is like!
A recent UK statute has passed to say there mustn’t be a blanket ban on pets, and that each case should be judged on its individual merits.
Working on a case-by-case basis, as generally, a hamster or gerbil, is unlikely to wreak havoc and cause the same potential issues a loud-and-proud great Dane could.
And if still, you are reluctant to allowing pets in your property, read on…
If refusing a pet, you should respond to the tenants query outlining why you feel that particular animal is unsuitable for your property or its grounds. For example, a dog in an apartment or flat probably wont be suitable due to access of a garden, and if it’s a communal garden the other residents may cause an issue about the dog doing their mess there.
Most tenants that keep pets, are responsible people that feed, water, exercise and clean them regularly.
Finding out about a routine they follow, such as giving their dog a walk before work in the morning, arranging a dog-walker to look after them in the days, and picking up after any mess in the garden, litter-tray or cage helps demonstrate this.
As discussed above, for many pet owners finding a pet-friendly landlord can be a difficult feat. However, the advantageous point for yourself is, if you find a tenant that ticks all the right boxes for you, they’re far more likely to continue renewing the tenancy agreement in the concern of having to find someone else as accepting as yourself.
Additionally, they’ll usually work harder to maintain the property to a high standard, in the hopes they aren’t judged upon by the landlord, to have to give any reason to look elsewhere to replace them as tenants.
Great! Have an open and honest conversation with the applicants about any concerns you may have, so that they are aware and will hopefully put your mind to rest.
Ensure allowing of a pet is included in the tenancy agreement, it shows a discussion has been had and it has been mutually agreed. But more importantly, it’ll highlight the awareness of responsibility the tenant will now have. You could include the allowing of a certain pet, under the certain circumstance, such as the property is being maintained well, kept clean, and odour-free.
Yourself, being open and understanding, will be beneficial as your tenant will be more likely to be comfortable speaking to you so this issue shouldn’t arise.
But in the unlikely situation they either gain more pets without asking, or the one you did allow has wrecked the property, be swift in covering the situation. Have a conversation about what’s happened, and if the response isn’t to your liking look to seek advice. And if necessary, carry out eviction proceedings. As in most cases this’ll be a breach of the tenancy agreement, and you’ll want to solve the issue sooner rather than later.
There are obvious downsides to being accepting of pets. However, in most cases the benefits outweigh the negative points, and will result in having long-term tenants that treat your property as their home, just as you would.
Remember, make frequent inspection visits, and communicate regularly to create an atmosphere of transparency, no matter the situation.