Children and pets are seen as the number one categories when it comes to damage, highlighted in this BBC article. I would say from experience that sharers are ‘top spot’. I also think that the ‘damage’ issue is exaggerated. So many parents and pet owners are responsible.
However, this survey by Propertymark, states that damage by pets in rentals is common place. 85% of landlords surveyed had had damage to their properties caused by pets. 57% were unable to fully re-coup the costs due to the 5-week deposit cap.
Need for Renters Reform Bill
This is why the proposed 2023 Renters Reform Bill is so important. Through an insurance policy it gives landlords ‘peace of mind’ and the ability to cover any potential damage.
No to children now as well as pets
On the other hand, the proposed bill does not cover children. ‘Damage’ has become such a ‘hot topic’ with rising costs and interest rates, that any non-responsible tenants are refused. Pets are part of the family. To not being able to take them with you, will have an effect on individuals as well as families and their ‘mental health’.
To say no to children just takes it to another level and you could say that it is contrary to a human right as per the United Nations charter. For landlords to consider saying no to children is a sign of the times. We have come across landlords asking to interview potential tenants despite having an asking price offer and providing the documentation.
Can you imagine if portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla and Open Rent added a no children tick box to the properties. Hopefully landlords won’t be given that option. It is bad enough with saying no to people’s pets.
* Perhaps the Renters Reform Bill* now needs to incorporate the rights of children as well as people with pets.
Property is an investment
It is all about your return on investment. Your ROI. There is no difference between a private landlord and a corporate one. Your build to rent operators will be looking at the ‘bottom line’ to appease investors. That is why so many newer build properties ask for extra pet rental charges ranging from £20 to £50 per month per pet.
The 5-week deposit cap was poorly implemented
Damage has become an issues because of the 2019 Tenancy Fees Act. Before then a landlord could request an extra fee. A figure that would be agreed between both parties. Now they cannot.
However, we did have an instance where a landlord asked for an extra £250pcm to cover the damage to the carpets at the end of the tenancy. We declined and found another property.
Damage equals money with renovations between tenancies. The 5-week deposit is not enough. In an ideal world a landlord would love a tenant who is hardly there. 10% of wear and tear can be off set against tax.
A landlord will look for any excuse to rent to someone without pets and children. Young professionals are ideal. However, many of the younger generations have pets. A lot of our clients at Pets Lets have a small dog or a house cat. Landlords are benefitting from a competitive market. They can pick and choose which tenant. Many estate agents just say ‘yes’ to landlords as they don’t want to lose the instruction. Only some will recommend the tenant with a pet over one without. Path to least resistance to get the ‘deal’ done.
Supply versus demand
With so few properties on the market, landlords are to an extent ‘in control’. Estate agents appease landlords by proposing higher rents to get the landlords to sign up to their services. It can change. There will come a time when tenants will be able to ‘make the demands’. Say no to children and pets and suddenly your target market substantially shrinks. In property, people have ‘short term’ memories. Landlords and agents have not had to ‘pick up the phone’ for a long time. Emails and calls come to them. If a landlord says no to children and pets, then there are others who will rent the property. Again, all about getting the deal done.
That is how landlords and estate agents can get a ‘bad reputation’. Saying no to children is not something people will take ‘lightly’. Refusing pets is bad enough. Stopping families renting with children is simply unethical and estate agents as well as portals should in an ‘ideal world’ not accommodate such landlords.
This article was written by Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets. A hybrid pet friendly property portal, offering lots of advice on renting with pets. You can create your own pet cv, browse recommended pet businesses as well as pet friendly estate agents in our Empawrium. If you are relocating with your pet to the UK, have a look at our Relocation Service. We work with clients from all over the world. Pets are our four-legged children, aka ‘fur-babies’.