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Dealing with tenants with pets - a guide for landlords

Date online: 02/01/2014

Whilst many landlords may not like the idea of letting property to tenants with pets, the fact is that many people today have decided to welcome a furry friend into their family.

By eliminating those who have a pet, landlords could actually be cutting off their nose to spite their face and writing off a large number of good, potential tenants; having a pet doesn’t make for a bad tenant.

The main fear of landlords is that allowing tenants to have a pet could be a recipe for disaster in terms of creating damage within the property. 

However, the majority of clients will be responsible pet owners and landlords are more likely to find that if a pet ever does cause damage to the property, the tenant will repair it themselves before the landlord even knows about it.

So, if you have decided to allow tenants with pets, what are the steps that you should take as a landlord? At Morris Property Management lettings Rochdale we have put together some key pointers:

1) Find out the details of the pet

Has your tenant got a Rottweiler the size of a small shed, or a Chihuahua that looks more like a cat? Find out what animal will be residing in the property and take note. Just because the animal is larger doesn’t necessarily mean that it is more likely to cause damage, however, it does mean that if damage does occur, it may be on a larger scale.

It is better to prepared for what could happen in an unlikely event. 

2) Always take a deposit 

Deposits have a clear purpose; they are in place to cover any damage that a tenant may have caused if they decide to vacate the property. If you are offering furnishings in the property, you may want to make the deposit larger, however, as a rule of thumb, the deposit is usually the equivalent of a month’s rent. 

3) Add clauses

One of the most common causes of complaint from houses with animals comes from owners who have dogs that are left alone all day. Many dogs will bark and yap all day until said owner comes home, upsetting neighbours and creating a stressed out canine that may cause damage out of frustration. Don’t be scared to add a clause that the animal should be left alone for longer than x amount of hours and remind tenants that if the animal is found out to be being mistreated, you will report them to the correct authorities. 

Whilst damage to the property is damage full stop, whether the animal caused it or the tenant themselves, it all falls under the same bracket. However, for those who want to make sure that they have definitely covered all bases, clauses can be added to agreements in order to cover any pet related problems that may arise.

4) Take precautions

You can inspect the house if you put this condition as part of the agreement, so doing a quarterly check to ensure the house is still in a good state with the pet inside is always an option. 

Visiting the owner with the pet in their current home before they move in is also a sensible option, as it gives the landlord a gauge on how well behaved and looked after the animal is. 

5) State the law

People who decide to keep animals also have the law of the land to follow to ensure that they are keeping animals responsibly and safely, as well as keeping them out of harm and away from cruelty. Landlords can list all legislation in place regarding pet ownership to ensure that any animals in their property are properly cared for and looked after, allowing the tenant to be a responsible pet owner and creating peace of mind for the landlord. 

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