May 16, 2024 10:46 am

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Nikka Sulton

Propertymark has released a comprehensive guide for tenants outlining their rights concerning pet ownership in rental properties.

The trade body Propertymark notes that pet ownership and the desire to rent with pets have seen a significant increase, particularly since the Covid-19 pandemic. This trend reflects the growing number of people who have adopted pets for companionship during the lockdown periods.

In England, landlords generally retain the right to prohibit pets in their rental properties. However, the new guide from Propertymark clarifies that this does not necessarily mean tenants cannot rent with a pet at all. The guide provides detailed information on how tenants can negotiate with landlords to allow pets, including tips on creating pet agreements and offering additional pet deposits.

Propertymark’s guide also emphasizes the importance of understanding both tenant and landlord rights. It suggests ways tenants can present their case to landlords, demonstrating responsible pet ownership and addressing potential concerns such as property damage or noise. This approach aims to find a middle ground that benefits both parties, ensuring tenants can keep their pets while landlords protect their properties.

Overall, the guide aims to help tenants navigate the complexities of renting with pets, offering practical advice and encouraging open communication between tenants and landlords.

“Remember, the reason landlords aren’t keen on having pets in their property is because of the associated risks,” the guide tells tenants.

It explains that poor pet ownership has made landlords wary of renting to people with pets. Pets in the hands of irresponsible owners can cause dirty conditions, lingering smells, pest infestations, and neighbour complaints. Therefore, tenants need to demonstrate how they will mitigate these risks and convince landlords they are responsible pet owners.

A survey of English landlords and letting agents was conducted by industry trade bodies Propertymark and the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).

The research showed that pet damage is very common in properties rented to tenants with pets. The costs are hard to recover, with 85 per cent of landlords and agents experiencing property damage from pets and 57 per cent unable to recoup the costs.

Propertymark advises renters to strengthen their case for keeping a pet in rented accommodation by maintaining a pet CV and references. It says: “Your pet’s age, breed, behaviour, training, vaccinations, flea treatments, and a reference from your vet or previous landlord will help show what your pet will be like in the property. While this is more common for cats and dogs, other pets will also benefit from good references to reassure the landlord.”

Additionally, it suggests providing your vet’s contact details and someone who can care for your pet in an emergency. You should also specify when you’re likely to be away from your pet during the day or night.

If possible, introduce your pet to the landlord so they can see how it behaves firsthand. The more information your landlord has, the more likely they’ll accept your tenancy with a pet.

In a section for tenants called ‘Know Your Rights,’ the agents’ trade body outlines the regulations:

England: Landlords cannot request a higher tenancy deposit for renting with a pet due to the Tenant Fees Act 2019, which caps deposits. Instead, landlords can charge extra rent for having a pet. While landlords can ask for higher rent payments for pets, they cannot require a professional cleaning or de-flea treatment service at the end of your tenancy. Professional cleaning services are prohibited under the legislation; however, you must return the property in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy.

Wales: Landlords can request an additional pet deposit on top of your tenancy deposit to cover potential damage caused by the pet. This pet deposit should be returned at the end of your tenancy if no damage has occurred and must be protected in a tenancy deposit scheme.

Northern Ireland: The Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 limits deposits to one month’s rent for new tenancies from 1 April 2023. Landlords cannot ask for or accept any deposit over one month’s rent, including separate deposits for pets.

Scotland: Some tenancy agreements might initially prevent renting with a pet, but permission can often be gained by agreeing to an additional deposit. In Scotland, any deposit is capped at a maximum of two months’ rent, including any additional deposits for pets.



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