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Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

Is it realistic to force landlords to accept pets?

From Robert Ulph on January 20, 2020

In a surprise announcement earlier this month, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government stated that they would make it easier for tenants with pets to rent property. In the statement it said that Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is to look at removing restrictions within tenancy agreements to make this happen, as the Ministry claims that currently just 7% of rental properties advertise that they will accept pets.

At Pennington, we take a view that the subject of allowing pets or not is a decision for the individual landlord, so we rarely advertise a property as accepting pets or not. We know that not all properties are suitable for pets, we also know that the reference ‘pets’ covers a wider range of animals than it used to so more often than not individual requests have to be addressed as they come up.

We are also aware that as a nation of animal lovers, demand for pet-friendly rental property is high. Data on the number of UK households owning a pet reveals an increase year on year, with an estimated 45% owning one in 2018 so it is understandable that for many looking to rent, a pet-friendly property is their number one priority.

But I can’t stress enough that deciding whether or not to accept pets in your rental property must be an individual choice as it can feel like a big decision, particularly if you have little experience of pets yourself, but it is something that should be carefully considered.

At Pennington, we do advise on individual properties but generally we do find there are significant benefits to those landlords who provide pet-friendly homes. It can certainly maximise rental potential and we find that pet-friendly properties are snapped up quickly and are never vacant for long. We also find that pet owners are often more likely to stay longer in a property than tenants without pets.

Once you have made the decision to look at accepting pets in your property, there are a few simple steps that again we can advise on to ensure that the tenancy runs as smoothly as possible. Incorporating clauses on potential damage or extra cleaning are key from the outset and removes any uncertainty or dispute later on.

Regular inspections of the property are also essential and ARLA Propertymark agents should be carrying these out as part of their terms of business and at least every six months. These inspections reveal how your property is being looked after and will highlight any work that may need addressing sooner rather than later. In addition, a good agent will always send you the inspection report with photos, as well as be able to arrange for any work to be carried out.

If you need any advice on renting out your property or as a tenant with pets or would like to discuss any other matters on the local property market, please do not hesitate to contact me.