Only 7% of Landlords allow pets but the government wants to change this         

7th January 2020

Last week the UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick made an announcement for the new year that should make many tenants feel warm and fuzzy inside. The MP was discussing the content of the national model tenancy agreement, and ways in which this can be adapted and evolved to improve quality of life for tenants. The model agreement is a recommendation to landlords for the minimum requirements of a rental agreement. Landlords can adapt it to their own needs however, so the model agreement is not law, but it does set the standard for the lettings industry.

The argument for allowing pets in rented homes

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that he will be making changes to this agreement that should “encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners”. Currently, in the UK, only an estimated 7% of landlords allow pets in their properties. This is usually down to concerns about damage to the interior, and also noise complaints from neighbours. But for long-term or life-time tenants, the restriction of not being able to have a family pet in their home can be heart-breaking. For families with young children, owning a pet is a fantastic social and educational opportunity. And for single people or those with mobility issues that restrict their social life, a pet can be a lifeline to keep them company.

When should Landlords allow pets in their properties?

When it comes to lettings negotiation and property management, our team has experienced both sides of the argument and feel that the true answer is, that the choice to allow pets on not will be very much down to logistics of the property make-up and landlords’ personal preference. It doesn’t always follow suit that landlords who are pet owners will allow pets in their investment properties. They may well have a destructive dog at home that’s put them off the idea entirely. In detached houses with large gardens, it’s more likely pets will be allowed, and in flats situated in a block, it’s unlikely dogs or cats will be permitted due to, shared access, lack of outdoor space and close proximity to neighbours. What’s more, many flats are leasehold and the owner of the property will need to comply with the terms of the master lease, which more often than not will not allow anyone in the block to keep pets, irrespective of whether they own or rent the property.

Smaller pets such as guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, goldfish and reptiles are more likely to be granted a home in a rented property if the tenant and landlord relationship is a good one. We sometimes find that landlords who don’t allow pets when agreeing a new tenancy may have a change of heart once their tenant has been in the property for a longer-term. If they’re a good tenant who takes care of the property, then the expectation would be that they’ll be a responsible pet owner too.

If you are a landlord who is unsure about allowing pets, our recommendation would be to assess it on a tenant-by-tenant basis. You could be missing out on excellent tenants just because they have a furry friend, on the other hand, if your property isn’t quite right for pets you could be putting your investment at risk. Our Lettings and Property Management teams are always happy to provide advice on the best way to manage your tenancies, so do get in touch if you think we can help.

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