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Why Not Allow Pets? Tight clauses in contracts cut risks, says supplier

A major supplier to the lettings sector says there’s no reason landlords should not allow pets into properties so long as there is a tightly-written contract,

Inventory management firm No Letting Go says a well-considered pet clause should include specifics such as what pets a landlord will allow and a clear record of identification, licenses and vaccinations regarding the animal. 

No Letting Go, completing inventories and check-outs for landlords, agents and property management companies for over 15 years, says that it has seen an increase of check-out issues related to pets. 

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These have included issues surrounding pet odours, carpet and curtain fraying, skirting board damage, damage to backdoors from unauthorised cat flaps and gardens excessively worn due to dogs being kept. 

It warns that the likelihood of these issues being addressed by the tenant before leaving is fairly low, which has more emphasis on ensuring good evidence is provided.

“We are noticing and recording an increase in pet-related issues including excessive to fair wear and tear at check out, where the deposit schemes aren’t” according to No Letting Go chief executive Nick Lyons.

“It is likely that these issues are being negotiated before reaching adjudication or that the evidence isn’t strong enough to support a claim and landlords lose out, but there is certainly an increase. The one thing it has highlighted is that it is more important than ever that inventory companies or employees who complete the check-outs are much more vigilant with these issues.”

He says both TDS and My Deposits suggest pet problems right now aren’t as frequent as some might expect. This may be because many landlords have not allowed pets in the past or because permissions have been gained in advance, but with the increase in pet owners caused by lockdown and the increase in family lets over the past five years, this is likely to change. 

Sandy Bastin, head of TDS adjudication, says tenants have an obligation to return the property to its pre-tenancy condition and if any damage is caused and not put right, the landlord can claim for financial loss. Bastin goes on to state that along with accurate and clear clauses in the tenancy agreement, evidence from both the check-in and check-outs covering cleanliness and condition is critical. 

Additionally, the TDS Letterbox newsletter also showed some interesting statistics based on a survey they carried out on 1,500 landlords. It highlighted the challenges today with pets and cost recovery. According to the survey, some 70 per cent of landlords believe pets should not be allowed in rented properties and of those that do, 64 per cent of landlords do not increase rent for the addition of pets. 

However, 36 per cent do - and this is an increase from 25 per cent before the 2019 Tenant Fees Act.

 

“In the current market, with more people at home, the demand for a furry friend remains very high. As has been widely written about, the demand for pets during Covid went through the roof, in particular among the younger generations who are far more likely to rent” Lyons adds.

“Many tenants are likely to have got pets without permission (knowingly or not) from their landlord. As a result, I anticipate we will be seeing many check-outs over the next few years having pet-related dilapidations.

“Damage should be clearly defined in writing with supporting pictures. Things like cleanliness, including signs of animal hairs as well as excessive wear and tear, along with strong odours and overworn/damaged gardens, should also be noted down. 

“Using professional independent inventory management companies will prove to be a godsend as the demand for pets increases and pressure continues to grow on landlords to allow pets as a default right.”

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    Just say no. They cause smells the pet owners insist isn’t there but puts off new tenants. They try to claim pet damage is fair wear & tear. If you do let with pets then an extra £100 is standard. Over a year this will only cover new carpets not damaged woodwork etc not interested

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    • D G
    • 13 October 2021 10:33 AM

    Lots of things cause smells that put off new tenants

     
    S SMITH

    It just never wotks.

     
  • George Dawes

    Cats aren't so bad , dogs - no way, especially big ones !!

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    Why don’t people stop interfering it’s not their property, it should be how it was left between LL & Tenants without outsiders telling us what to do. Forget about tight clauses I use standard straight forward Tenancy Agreements we have more than enough on our plate.

  • Matthew Payne

    I know Nick and used NLG when I was in Agency and agree here with most of what he has said, however, surely a comprehensive independant inventory and check out (which I agree with) are only as useful as the size of the deposit left to cover its conclusions?

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    Sorry Mathew I don’t have comprehensive independent checks since the cost was prohibitive bearing in mind all other costs loaded on to us I stopped talking Deposits too, no point in protecting someone else’s money, it’s not what the Deposit was for, it’s the Property that’s supposed to be protected but they nobbled that, Congrats.

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    The basic premise that there is 'no reason landlords should not allow pets into properties so long as there is a tightly-written contract' is simply wrong. Leasehold properties often have pet clauses, and these supersede rental contract terms.

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    Thanks to HM Govt anti Landlord rhetoric encouraging landlords to leave the market there is clearly a huge lack of rental stock in my area. For every house I market to rent now I get so many enquiries I can pick and choose my tenant. If it’s a choice between a tenant with no pets and and a tenant with a pet for me the choice is normally pretty obvious.

    Rather than protect from damage via tight clauses in a contract or have to pursue a tenant to pay for repair I prefer not to put myself in that position in the first place.
    Recently a house in my area that would normally have gone for about £700 at the most was advertised for almost £1050 because it allowed pets. I see that the Tenant Fees Act is really working – not!

    If the Govt made it mandatory to accept pets (which no doubt would encourage another avalanche of Landlords to quit) I would choose tenants with a lifestyle that made it very unlikely they would ever want a pet. That means even more people who would go to the bottom of my long list.

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    We have some landlords who say absolutely not to the idea of pets, some are okay with pets in cages/tanks (reptiles/hamsters etc) and fish if ground floor, and some that will allow cats if the property has direct access to a private garden, but haven't had a landlord accept dogs in years! Last one was about 10 years ago.

    At the end of the day, it is the landlords property and they have the final decision, nothing more to be said really.

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    Why can short term lets like holiday homes and hotels charge by the night for pets but long term lets of 6 months or more can’t. It sounds like DOUBLE STANDARDS to me. What do you think?

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    I am afraid that the tenants just move their dogs in, regardless. I had a tenant whose dogs damaged the property so I went to arbitration and she lost the major part of her deposit. She moved nearby and tells everybody I wouldnt give her the deposit back Johnson is really a communist revolutionary and he seems to see himself as modern Che Guevara, goes down well with the women .

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