The Landlord’s Guide To Renting With Pets
Many buy-to-let landlords have a dilemma over whether or not to let out their property to tenants with pets. There are advantages and disadvantages to deciding either way. Still, it is worth noting that the UK government has updated their model tenancy agreement to help support people with pets to more easily rent a property than in previous years.
In most cases, landlords don’t want to let their property to tenants with pets because they fear that pets will cause an amount of property damage that will cost a lot of money to put right.
But not all pets are destructive, and if you decide against letting to tenants with pets, you are narrowing your appeal to a much smaller demographic. Having residential landlord insurance can provide cover for minor damage caused by pets, so it is worth re-thinking your stance on letting to tenants with pets.
The UK’s New Model Tenancy Agreement
The government introduced a new standard tenancy agreement to help renters with well-behaved pets in January 2021. This was introduced to help responsible tenants with well-behaved pets to be able to secure leases more easily through a new standard tenancy agreement.
It means landlords using the new revised model tenancy agreement will no longer be able to issue a blanket ban on accepting pets in their rental property. Use of the new agreement is entirely voluntary, but it can help to realise that the tenants with pets market is vast. If you want to let your residential property quickly, you will open up your property to a much wider audience.
The new model tenancy agreement will mean that consent for pets will be the default position, and landlords letting a residential property have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason for not allowing pets.
What Counts As A Valid Reason To Refuse A Request From A Tenant To Keep Pets?
Under the new model tenancy agreement, landlords should only reject pets for a good reason. This can include:
- Health & Safety:
With more than 30 per cent of the UK population suffering from allergic reactions, many landlords offering short-term leases feel that keeping pets has the potential to cause problems with subsequent tenants. Landlords can also reject tenants’ applications with dangerous dog breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
Landlords letting a small flat can refuse a request from a tenant due to a lack of functional space to keep animals humanely. For example, a one-bedroom flat with no garden or outdoor area wouldn’t be suitable for a tenant with a large breed dog or multiple dogs.
- Type of Animal:
Landlords can reject tenants that have types of pets that are not suitable for the property. While most people instantly think of tenants with cats or dogs, the UK is an animal-loving nation, and many pet owners keep other pets such as chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, snakes, mice and rats, and exotic birds. While keeping a quiet older cat may be acceptable for a flat, keeping a noisy parrot that squawks all day and could annoy the neighbours may not be acceptable.
Should you decide to allow pets, you can ensure you remain protected by having pet damage covered in your landlord’s insurance. Still, you can also insist that your tenants repair and cover the cost of any pet damage to the property.
Can I Deny A Tenant A Pet For Any Reason?
The new model tenancy agreement ends the unfair default blanket ban on pets in rented property. It doesn’t seem fair that people have to give up their beloved pets to be able to find somewhere to live. This new agreement brings more balance to the rental market while ensuring landlords’ properties are protected by law and the right insurance.
While you, as the landlord, can stipulate that your permission should be sought if the tenant intends to keep a pet, your permission should not be unreasonably refused. The planned Renters’ Reform Bill introduced in the 2022-23 parliamentary session will “ensure landlords do not unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet in their home.”
You may refuse a request to keep a pet, but your tenant can challenge your refusal, and you will need to show good reason for refusing permission.
Should I allow pets in my rental property?
Your decision to allow or deny pets in your rental property will depend on the type of property you own and the tenants you intend to attract. For example, if you have a flat to let out and seek a professional working person or couple who may be out at work all day, it may be better to accept small pets such as rodents, reptiles or fish rather than a dog or cat.
It can help to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of letting to tenants with pets:
- Wider Audience of Tenants
- Increase Property Demand
- Encourage Tenants to Stay Longer
- Increased Risk of Damage to Property
- Potentially Upset Neighbours
- Some Insurance Policies Don’t Cover Pet Damage
With figures showing that more than half of adults in the United Kingdom own a pet, it may not be in your best interest to automatically reject tenants with pets. Many tenants will want to take on or adopt a pet during their tenancy, so you need to decide whether it is worth the hassle and expense of losing your tenants if they choose to move out so they can keep a pet.
How Can I Protect My Property Whilst Allowing Pets?
There is a lot to consider as a new landlord about to let your first residential property. If you keep pets, you can understand just how important they can be for your health, well-being and happiness. It would be heartbreaking to deny this to your tenants because you are worried about any damage their pets may do to your property.
If your property is suitable for letting to tenants with pets, then you should consider the following tips:
Plan In Advance:
When you market your property, make sure you advertise it as a pet-friendly property. This will attract more interest and give you more choice over who you choose as a new tenant. You can also take steps to pet-proof your property by installing easy-to-clean hard flooring rather than carpets and creating a pet-friendly garden, avoiding poisonous plants that could harm the health of your tenant’s pets.
Make Sure Your Landlord’s Insurance Covers Pet Damage:
You can include pet damage coverage in your landlord’s insurance to cover the costs of minor repairs. Just ask for pet damage to be included in your landlord insurance when you speak to our team at Brisco Business Insurance.
Be Specific When Agreeing To A Pet In Your Rental Property:
It can help your tenants understand what type of pets are acceptable on your property if you clarify in their tenancy agreement what is and isn’t allowed. For example, no large breed dogs or multiple dogs, or cats, in a small, one-bedroom flat. For a house with a garden, you can confirm that you would accept rabbits or guinea pigs living in the garden.
Research from Dogs Trust shows that one in three pet owners in the UK struggle to find a pet-friendly rental property. Most landlords are now opening up their properties to include letting to tenants with pets and seeking out buy-to-let property insurance that provides coverage for pet damage costs.
Allowing your tenants to keep pets can result in longer tenancies, meaning it will save you time and money having to search for new tenants. It doesn’t take much time or effort to write your rules over keeping pets into any new tenancy agreements and will mean you will attract more interest from prospective new tenants.
You can easily compare buy-to-let property insurance quotes with Brisco Business Insurance to find the best deals when letting to tenants with pets. At Brisco Business, we simplify the process of obtaining business insurance, allowing you to focus on growing your business.
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