Letting to tenants with pets
Most landlords are adamant. No pets. Pets can cause damage to the property, future tenants with allergies may not want to live there, and you are worried about neighbours complaining about barking dogs.
However, maybe you should sometimes re-consider this blanket prohibition, particularly if you are finding it hard to let your property. Would allowing a tenant with a pet really be so terrible? Depending on the tenant and the pet of course.
Research by the Dogs Trust shows that
- 78% of pet owners have experienced difficulty in finding accommodation which accepts pets
- 54% were never able to find a suitable property, and
- 8% had to rehome their pet
The majority of pet owners are decent responsible people. In most cases, if you offer them a tenancy, they will be so grateful to have found a somewhere where they can keep their pet that they will take good care to keep it, by paying rent promptly and keeping the property in good condition. You may also find it considerably easier to find a tenant for your property as your pool of prospective tenants will be so much wider.
Your Tenancy Agreement if you allow pets:
If you decide to allow your tenant to keep a pet, you do need to protect your position as a landlord and the tenancy agreement is the best place to do this. For example
- You should confine your permission to a specific pet or pets and state details of the pet, including the breed of animal (where known) and microchip details, and
- Have details of the animal’s vet and
- The name, address and contact telephone number of someone who will look after the animal if the tenant is unable to do so for any reasons, for example, if they go into hospital – otherwise, under law, you are responsible
- The tenant should also be bound by pet related terms and conditions, setting out things such as the tenant’s responsibility for the welfare of the animal, and for ensuring that it does not cause a disturbance.
I used to include these details on special ‘pet’ tenancy agreements. However, I now have a special ‘pets form’ which includes all the information required (including special ‘pet’ terms and conditions) and which serves as an amendment to your tenancy agreement.
My pets form is only available to my Landlord Law members but you will find a similar (if less detailed) form on the Dogs Trust Lets for Pets web-site.
Your Tenancy Agreement if you don’t allow pets
If you *don’t* want to have pets, make sure that your prohibition clause is valid – it is essential that you do not amend standard pets clauses without taking advice first or you can invalidate them. Please see the guidance given on Day 17 regarding this.
If you find that your tenant is keeping a pet without permission, it may not be possible practically to force them to give it up during the fixed term, but if you have a valid pets clause, then at least you will be able to claim for any damage out of the deposit.
If the tenant wants to stay at the property after the end of the fixed term, then you can refuse to agree to a renewal unless the pet is removed, or maybe an additional deposit paid (should the deposit regulations at the time permit this).
NB Find out more about my Tenancy Agreement Service on Landlord Law
All Landlord Law members can also use my special pets form which can be used with any of our tenancy agreements.if you decide to allow your tenant to keep a pet.