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Accepting Tenants with Pets and Selling Property with Tenants who Have Pets

People benefit from the companionship of animals; having pets encourages exercise and helps mental health. Pets give companionship to those working from home, actually, help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and create social opportunities.  As a landlord have you really considered letting to tenants with pets?  We explore some pros and cons here.  Plus information regarding selling property with tenants.

There is a huge increasing trend for landlords to decline tenants with pets.  It’s a trend that has worsened since the tightening of deposit restrictions.  Many pet owners are responsible people who look after their homes.  As with so many things in life, it seems to be an area where the minority have ruined something for the majority.  Charities and organisations like Dogs Trust and Blue Cross have attempted to encourage landlords to accept pets and have tried carrying databases of pet friendly rental properties.

Frequently, renting a home is an area where dog lovers are forced to accept substandard accommodation to live where they want or need to be.  It shouldn’t have to be that way.  There are many assumptions made about homeless people.  Many of those assumptions are wrong; some homeless people are only homeless because they find themselves victims of circumstance and cannot find anyone willing to rent to them with a pet or pets.

As a landlord, *I’d rather rent to a person with pets than someone with young children or teenagers.  In my experience of both residential lets and holiday lets, toddlers and teens do far more damage to the property than pets do.  Furthermore, the tenant with kids knows in the back of their minds that the local authority would accommodate them if they were evicted for any reason; that’s because when children are involved, the local authority has to accommodate them.  Not so pet owners.  Pet owners know how difficult it is to find suitable accommodation with their pets, no matter how house proud they are or how well behaved or charming their pets are.  The best they could hope for is being accommodated somewhere without their beloved pets.

As a landlord, this is a situation that you can take advantage of.  Yes, really.  You can attract high-quality tenants to your desirable or even less desirable property.  Responsible pet owners will be happy for you to meet their pets.  They will have previous landlord references ready and can show you proof that they are responsible pet owners by offering details of their vet, the rescue centre or breeder where their pet/s came from and will reassure you that their pets are house trained.

There are advantages to letting to tenants with pets:

  1. You don’t have to carpet the property
  2. Tenants with pets strive to be model tenants
  3. Pet owners invest in the property, they are more likely to stay put longer
  4. Tenants with pets are less fussy about requiring white goods and other expensive accessories in the home.
  1. You don’t have to carpet the property

Pet owners will completely understand if you offer the property to rent without carpets.  They most probably already have rugs ready to go down in high traffic areas and will see the lack of carpets as an acceptable compromise in an otherwise ideal property.

  1. Tenants with pets strive to be model tenants

Tenants with pets will have a hard time finding the perfect or even a reasonable property to rent.  They are more likely to accept and abide by any rules you apply to the property and are more likely to accept the rent rather than haggle.

  1. Pet owners invest in the property, they are more likely to stay put longer

Because it’s harder to rent with pets, when a pet owner finds a home they like, they are also more likely to want to stay longer.  They may have invested in fitting carpets, creating a dog-proof garden, finding the best dog walks, and getting to know other dog lovers through their pets.  All things that will make them take care of the property and want to stay longer.

  1. Tenants with pets are less fussy about requiring white goods and other expensive accessories in the home.

As part of the comprise to finding an otherwise suitable place to rent, those with pets are less demanding.  If you are a landlord who has just invested in a new property, you can save on adding white goods, carpets and other fittings to make the property more desirable.  Someone with pets will pay you the same rent and you can have the property ready sooner and earning from your investment quicker by renting to a responsible pet owner.

So what are the disadvantages of letting to people with pets:

  1. Chewed carpets, doors, skirting boards
  2. Pet smells
  3. Digging up garden
  4. Accidental damage
  1. Chewed carpets, doors, skirting boards

By not fitting carpets, removing rugs and adding a clear damage from pets clause into the tenancy agreement, you can overcome damage problems.  Also, responsible pet owners won’t allow their pets to chew furnishings.  If you are worried, you could add a clause of no puppies and more frequent landlord or agent inspections.

  1. Pet Smells

By not supplying any furnishings, carpets, or other soft furnishings, any pet smells can be easily and quickly eradicated at the end of the tenancy.  You can insist that you only accept house trained pets and if accepting cats that they must be house trained, or if applicable, litter trays must be emptied twice a day and managed appropriately.

  1. Digging up Garden

The garden is another area where you can save on investment of renting to pet owners.  Provide them with a garden and they will be happy.  If the garden is in good condition when you rent it to them, include photographs and clauses regarding the maintenance and any allowed changes to the garden that make it clear they must return it to the same condition.

  1. Accidental Damage

Accidents do happen.  Make sure it is clear in the tenancy agreement that the tenant is responsible for any damage, accidental or otherwise, that they or their pets cause.  By not fitting carpets or other accessories to the property, pets could cause less damage anyway.

Consider on an Individual Basis

By offering a pets considered option rather than pets accepted, you can assess the people and their pets and not feel obliged to accept any pets.  It’s not unreasonable to limit the numbers, to only accept adult pets and to request details of all pets at the property.

Selling a Rental Property with Tenants with Pets

So what happens when you are selling a rental property with tenants who have pets?

Just in the same way as you can check the tenant and their pets before accepting them as tenants, you can make a good case for them as tenants when selling a rental property with tenants.  Selling a property with tenants who have pets should be no different to selling any other tenanted property.  Selling a property with tenants who have been model tenants and have pets just means that you may feel obliged to put a good word in for them to prospective new landlords.

Of course, there is the advantage for the tenants in this situation when you are selling a property with tenants and pets, they can let the prospective new landlords see the home with the pets in situ and the potential landlord is in no doubt of the condition of the property and how they are looking after it with the pets living there.

You can find more information on selling property with tenants on our advice pages.  Alternatively, Rightmove have advice about selling property with tenants here: https://www.rightmove.co.uk/advice/seller/other-things-to-consider/selling-a-tenanted-buy-to-let-property/  Yopa offer selling property with tenants advice here: https://www.yopa.co.uk/homeowners-hub/selling-house-tenants/

The tenant’s rights information when selling property with tenants is here: https://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advice_from_us/landlord-selling-property/

Dogs Trust Lets with Pets here: https://www.letswithpets.org.uk/

Landlord Law regarding letting with pets here: https://landlordlaw.co.uk/member_article/letting-to-tenants-with-pets/

*Opinions are that of the writer and not necessarily National Home Buyer