Anna Bibby, 25 October 2019
Many landlords are wary of renting to tenants with pets and it’s easy to see why; They can be noisy, unhygienic and can cause a considerable amount of damage to a property. However, with the right preparation, renting to a tenant with a pet can be incredibly lucrative.
As more tenants are choosing to rent long-term, there is a growing demand for rental properties that accept pets. More than half of the households in the UK now have a pet of some description and according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the demand for rental properties has increased by 25%, meaning that there is a huge market for pet-friendly homes. Not only can landlords increase their rents for tenancies that include pets, you are also more likely to find a long-term tenant, as pet-friendly accommodation is incredibly difficult to come by. The risks that come with renting to a four-legged friend can be minimised by following these five steps before renting to a pet owner:
Make sure your property is prepared
To minimise the chance of damages from pets, it’s advisable that you make sensible design choices when refurbishing your home. For example, you should opt for a vinyl or tiled floor over wooden flooring or carpet, as they don’t show up scratches and are easier to clean should any accidents occur. Protect the doors in your property by covering the base of the doors with plastic sheets or installing a ‘doggy door’ to prevent anxious dogs from scratching doors excessively.
Make your terms clear in writing
Once you have secured a tenant, make sure that you have clearly outlined everything that you expect from them as a pet owner in the tenancy agreement. This could be anything from how you expect the tenant to maintain the property, to the number of pets you’re willing to accept in the tenancy. It may also be a good idea to meet with the tenant and their pet before they move in, as this could help eliminate any concerns you might have.
Ask for a pet reference
If your tenant has moved from a previous property, it could be a good idea to ask for a reference of the pet from their previous landlord. This will give you a good idea of how well-behaved the animal is and how the tenant acted if there were issues involving the pet. If there were no problems recorded from the previous landlord, it’s unlikely that there will be any while the tenant is living in your property. If they haven’t lived in a rented property before, you could ask the tenant to provide a reference from their vet.
Arrange regular inspections of your property
When the tenant moves in, arrange a set day and time for regular inspections when everyone is present in the property. This way, it will be easier for you to ensure that your property and the pet is being adequately looked after by the tenant. In addition to this, it will be a good opportunity for you to have an open line of communication with your tenant and flag any potential issues before they become too much of a problem.
Double check your insurance
It’s also advisable for you to check that your insurance policy covers damages from pets before you decide to accept a pet owner as a tenant. Landlord’s insurance doesn’t usually cover pets, so you will need to update your policy to ensure that it does.
Renting to a pet owner can be extremely beneficial for a landlord if they’re prepared to take these precautions before accepting a tenant.
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Anna Bibby, 25 October 2019