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Should I let my property as pet friendly?

Jan 9th 2023

In this post, we will consider the pros and cons of allowing pet ownership in your house or flat.

With so many families and individuals buying pets during the lockdown, there’s more demand for pet friendly rentals than ever before. The renters reform bill may also make it more difficult for landlords to prevent pets being kept on their property in the near future, so is it worth embracing letting a cat, rabbit, or dog friendly property?

 

In this post, we will go through the pros and cons of allowing pet ownership in your let.

PRO- Pet Positive Properties are in High Demand

A 2020 government study showed that only 7% of rental properties allowed pets and 78% of pet owning tenants struggle to find suitable accommodation. This means that allowing pets in your property can put you in incredibly high demand, especially in cities such as Bristol which already have a competitive rental market.

This means you may be able to charge a higher rent than landlords who ban pets. It can also allow you to be choosier with prospective tenants in other areas. For example, you can choose to wait for a tenant able to provide positive references, someone who has a job you feel confident will enable them to pay the rent, or a family rental rather than house sharers.

 

For properties which are difficult to let or in an area with little demand for rental property, adding “pets considered” to your listing can make all the difference. Adapting your supply to meet the huge demand has many benefits of this type

 

CON- Risk of Damage

One major reason many landlords are reluctant to welcome pets is the risk of damage to the property. Dogs can chew furniture, cat’s claws are a risk to wallpaper, and curtains, and all pets have the potential to cause mess and stains on carpets. Having animals in the property also increases the risk of pest or insect infestations.

Some landlords use this risk to inform the amount of tenancy deposit they require for tenants with pets (sometimes known as a “pet deposit”) or the cost of rent they expect in general. You may also be able to get pet damage covered in your contents or landlord insurance policy, though it often doesn’t come as standard. An informed decision must be taken, considering how much damage it is reasonable to expect and what it would cost to amend.

 

In the unlikely event that the pet causes particularly expensive or long-lasting effects to your property, it is possible that you may end up out of pocket. However, this is a risk when it comes to all kinds of tenancy, and some research suggests that, on average, pets cause less expensive damage than adult tenants.

 

PRO - Pet owners are more likely to be long-term tenants

 

Another effect of the low numbers of landlords who will grant pet requests is that pet owning tenants often stay in lets for longer. This is great news if you find a reliable tenant who takes good care of your property.

 

Many landlords prefer long-term tenants as it removes the risk of letting to unknown quantities and often reduces the time properties stand empty. Especially for those who do not use a letting agent, it also means less of the admin work necessary for changing tenancies.

 

If you manage to find a trustworthy, low-maintenance tenant with a well-behaved pet, you might find yourself with many relatively worry-free years as their landlord.

CON - Pets and Neighbours

Particularly if the property you are letting is a flat, terrace, or only semi-attached, you might worry about whether a pet may disturb neighbours. This could happen if the pet is loud, damages or fouls public property, or frightens neighbouring children or animals.

 

If this occurs, there could be complaints against tenants, or it could even damage your own standing in the neighbourhood. This can be difficult to deal with, especially if you don’t live locally.

 

However, there are ways to reduce the risk. Advertising as a pet-friendly let does not mean you are required to accept every pet request. Rodents, reptiles, and inside cats are unlikely to cause any disturbance to neighbours, so this is less of a concern if the tenant has these pets.

If the tenant is hoping to move in a dog or cat, it’s a good idea to meet the animal. This means you can assess how well they are trained, as well as judging practicalities such as how big or vocal they are. You could also look into the typical behaviour of different breeds to judge whether the pet is likely to cause an issue.

 

You could additionally ask for a reference for the animal, preferably from a previous landlord, to get an idea about whether there have been any problems in the past.

To Summarise...

Although there are risks to letting a property as pet friendly, we believe the benefits often outweigh these when precautions are taken. These might include:

  • Adding a pet clause to the tenancy contract
  • Ensuring your insurance covers pet damage
  • Meeting or getting references for riskier types of pets, such as dogs
  • Consider pet-proofing your property, or letting it unfurnished

If you have questions about letting a house or flat in Bristol, LetsRent are a leading letting agent and property management company with years of experience in good rental practise. Send us a message or call us at 0117 254 1133.

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