Talitha Burgess, Managing Director of Clarity Property Management has some news about our furry friends, and tenants with pets. Good news, or bad news? We’ve taken steps to ensure that it’s a positive move for landlords. Here’s everything you need to know.

If you’re a tenant with pets, you’ll know how hard it can be to find a suitable home to rent that will allow your much-loved dog or cat to live with you.

However, if you’re a landlord, you may think differently.

Animals can be smelly, destructive and if they’re noisy, disturb the neighbours. Nobody wants to hear dogs barking at midnight. Further, no landlord would be enthusiastic about their newly appointed fixtures and fittings being shredded by an excited, over-enthusiastic hound. Equally, finding matted pet hairs in the deepest recesses of the carpet, long after the tenants have vacated, doesn’t fill one with joy.

We understand this.

But now, the government is calling on landlords to allow pets in their properties, along with careful owners. Yes, we’re going pet-friendly. Or rather, there are plans to make this so. Read on for more information.

Some Animal Analysis

We really are a nation of animal lovers, it seems.

Statistics from 2020 reveal pet ownership in a whopping 41% of households within the UK. That’s an awful lot of dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, tortoises and apparently, snakes. (Shudder.)

If you’ve grown up with pets at home, you’ll no doubt agree that they aren’t just animals we feed and look after. They’re genuinely part of the family. They give back to us, and they love us. Well, maybe not cats so much.

Disdainful though they may be, our beautiful feline friends have a compelling, elegant attraction all their own.

Up until now, re-housing was the only option for tenants with pets. Heart-breaking, really.

Since the deposit cap of 2019, landlords who would normally have accepted higher deposits to cover any potential damage by animals, have no longer been allowed to do this. The result? A further drop in the number available properties.

All Change

But now, the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has called on landlords to make it easier for responsible pet owners (note the word “responsible”) to allow animals to live in their properties. In other words, it’s likely that the hard and fast restrictions in your Tenancy Agreement governing domestic animals will have to be removed.

There’s talk of a new Model Tenancy Agreement for assured shorthold tenancies.

Actually, I approve of this move, one of a number of measures being considered and introduced to make renting properties easier and more agreeable.

Why? Because in my opinion, pets contribute massively to our wellbeing, both physical and mental. Not least in these stressful times of Covid, if your dog looks up at you with that irresistible “please take me for a walk”-look, lead in mouth, it won’t take much persuasion for you to get out of the house, happy devoted canine by your side, for some much-needed exercise.

Similarly, for those isolated at home, the joy and comfort that a cat can bring offers a form of lockdown therapy like no other. Did you know that stroking a cat (or any docile animal) really DOES bring down your heart rate and blood pressure?

Let’s be real about this, though.

Anecdotally, I’m not sure that all landlords are one hundred percent delighted with the proposed new changes. I’ve even been reading online about an animal-loving Landlord who runs a dog charity, still unwilling to rent to pet owners.

But, nil desperandum.

Three Good things To Know

Here’s how Clarity proposes to make things as easy as possible for everyone concerned. These are measures we’ve taken to set us apart from other agencies.

And, modesty aside, which prove that we like to keep ahead of the curve.

As a landlord, although you are no longer able to take a higher deposit to cover any potential damage from pets (as per the aforementioned 2019 deposit cap), we think that we’ve found good solutions:

1. Your tenant can agree to a “pet clause”, listing reasonable works that your tenants must organise and pay for prior to checking out. This could include things such as anti-flea treatment, professional cleaning to the upholstery, soft furnishings or carpets.This useful clause would be discussed and agreed in advance, so that both parties are super-clear on what’s expected, and by whom. As a property management agency, Clarity may even be able to secure preferential rates for local tradespeople to carry out the work. The aim? Maximum deposits to be returned.

2. We’ll politely and carefully request that as a landlord, you check superior leases before rejecting applicants with pets. This is more a discretionary matter than a contractual one, and it means we can proceed with marketing the property and securing viewings without wasting potential tenants’ time.Further, having our “pet clause” will help them to make an informed decision about renting your property.

3. We’ll be offering free references for pets.Yes, I know this sound rather unusual, amusing even (“Rover maintained the property to high standards…”), but in fairness, we’re referring to the tenancy in general rather than to the pet in question.
What we mean is, wouldn’t you rather know that a pet owning applicant’s previous tenancy has been successful (for example, a full return of their deposit, no sign of damage etc) before renting it out to them?

Better by far than the hard-to-substantiate claim that a dog is “well-behaved” – which could mean different things to different people. It’s an effective accountability process, too.

And let’s face it, some animals are better behaved than others.

In summary, this isn’t an animal invasion, but it’s good to be prepared and be in the know.

The business of renting property is changing; developments will continue – often, in favour of the tenant.  Don’t get left behind.  As may sound obvious, keeping up to date with legislation isn’t always easy if you’re a busy landlord.

Get in touch with Clarity today for some pet, and landlord-friendly advice.

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