13.07.2020 07:59 am

In the UK, it is not against the law for a landlord or letting agent to charge an extra ‘pet rent’. In addition to you paying for your own rent, your four-legged ‘furry friend’, which is part of the family, is charged an additional rent. With some pet friendly rentals, it is not unusual to pay an extra £20-50 per month. Naturally that comes out of the pocket of people who own pets.

It does seem unfair that the backlash against the introduction of the 2019 Tenant Fees Act is for landlords to recuperate monies by penalising pet owners. With deposits capped to 5 weeks rent, and tenants fees being covered by landlords, then pet owners who are desperate to find a pet friendly property, will say yes to this extra amount to keep their dog or cat under the same roof.

At PetsLets, we specialise in finding London pet friendly properties and the portal offers 100% dog and cat friendly properties in London. Our clients are from all over the world and they find it hard to understand why living with your dog in London is such a big deal. They rightly see their pets as part of the family who should live under the same roof as them, yet having a pet(s) is scrutinised by letting agents and landlords.

If you have more than 1 child, or if your children are sharing a bedroom, is that an issue. Yet, children and dogs and cats have one main point in common. They both can cause damage to a property. This is part of the standard wear and tear in a tenancy and to some extent is tax deductible for landlords anyway. Children can make a mess or mark the furniture with crayons and paint or leave finger marks on the freshly painted walls. Dogs may chew a sofa leg, but most have toys to chew, shed hair which can be cleaned up or bark with other dogs in the area as part of a local get together.

I have a beagle/ basset and 3 teenagers. I can, hand on heart, say that the latter create far more damage and are not bothered by it.

Parents tidy up after children and pet owners clear up after their pets.

Earlier in the year, a letting agent and dog owner, stated that he was against the Government interfering with the rights of pet owners and that it should be up to the landlords/ freeholders to decide whether to allow pets.

London Landlords and Lettings Agents need to be educated about letting to Tenants with Pets

  • We talk to lots of people about allowing pets. Some are more-open minded, others just say not as soon as you mention the word ‘pet’.
  • Dogs are mostly well trained and obedient, and their owners are responsible.
  • People with pets stay longer in their properties, so less void periods between tenancy’s.
  • By making your London property dog friendly you are increasing your potential market by 50%.
  • You will find tenants quicker and save money.

Some Landlord tips before accepting a Tenant with Pets

  • Suggest meeting the tenant with their dog. Observe how responsible they are as pet owners and how well behaved the dog is.
  • Ask to see a Pet CV with references from a previous landlord or a vet. Also make sure their treatments are up to date. Look up the Dogs Trust Lets with Pets for more information.
  • Is that particular pet suitable for the property? A small dog may be fine, but anything larger may find the property too cramped and therefore is unrealistic.
  • Do the tenants work from home at all? If not, how many hours a day will the dog be left on its own?
  • Make sure there will be any special clauses, including a pets clause and anything more specific to the pet. For example, if there is a cat, a clause is inserted stating that the tenant is responsible for keeping litter trays clean.
  • As with any tenancy it is always best to have an inventory done on check-in and check-out.
  • Also make sure that the tenants will commit to doing a deep clean of the property upon leaving. Meeting the tenant with their dog in advance is a good tip. If the dog is badly behaved, then that is potentially a warning sign about the tenant and how they may look after the property. Most pet owners, are keen to give a good impression and make sure their dog will not cause any damage. From our experience, tenants with pets ‘bend over backwards’ to please their Landlords as they appreciate property owners who allow pets.

Russell Hunt is Founder of Pets Lets, a 100% pet friendly London property portal with a relocation service and a hub of information about dogs in London. Pets Lets is a community where people with pets matter.