As a landlord, you have full control over the rules which you lay down for tenants, within the confines of the law of course. While certain things have to be adhered to, there’s a lot that you can control. For example, whether prospective tenants can bring pets into your property.
Following on from our article in celebration of National Pet Month, we’re going to be examining core parts of the policies and information here on accepting tenants with pets, to make sure that you understand what your rights are.
What you can and can’t do when a tenant has pets
When it comes to pets, the rules are pretty clear. The property is yours, and you decide if the tenant is allowed to have their animals living with them. Depending on what you specified in the Tenancy Agreement, it’s best to make sure that renters are aware of your pet policies.
If this agreement is breached in some way, for example, homing a pet without permission. You do have rights to either force the pet to be removed or to give notice to the tenant that they need to move out, depending on the agreement signed.
However, you can’t just throw someone out without consulting them first - that will most likely be a breach of the agreement from your end and you could potentially lose a good paying tenant. Instead, speak to them about the situation, explain the problem and try to find a solution.
Cleaning charges and damage
Naturally, allowing an animal into your property will open up the risk of damage and extra cleaning charges. While a certain amount of these costs can be claimed back on the deposit, there is an element of consideration on who will pay for any excessive damage.
Typically, damage and charges are your responsibility as an owner, although a lot of this can depend on what you agree with the tenant and if you have secured an additional deposit as a backup.
As a way of compensation and protection against accidents, which can be likely, you will find that many landlords request a higher deposit from their tenants if they are moving in with an animal. However, the new Tenant Fees Bill provisions coming in June 2019 cap deposits at five weeks rent for properties with rent under £50,000 per annum. So this may affect your decision on accepting pets.
Additional deposit helps you as the owner of the property to feel a little more secure and makes provision for additional costs and accidental damage. But it is advisable to check how this could affect your risk if a sufficient deposit cannot be arranged to cover the risk to your property.
Of course, the building rules and regulations will vary from one place to the next. For example, serviced apartments and flats may have a pet restriction policy regarding the whole building which is out of your control and cannot be altered.
What you also have to consider is that some properties aren’t suitable to home a pet, whereas others could accommodate a certain size and breed of animal comfortably. It’s important to understand the logistics of renting to people with a pet such as accessibility to outside spaces and adequate room sizes before you let an animal into the property.
Overall, these are some of the things that you need to know as a landlord. Animals can really help you to let out a property quickly because it allows you to get the widest possible tenant selection. But at the same time, it depends entirely on what you want to accommodate and the compromises or risks you are prepared to take.