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The Pros & Cons Of Allowing Pets In Rented Properties

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The right for tenants to keep pets in a rented property ultimately rests on the terms negotiated and agreed to in the landlord and tenant agreement. However, recent figures suggest it may be time that landlords relaxed their approach on this issue.

The PFMA commissions a yearly ‘Pet Population Report’ For the year 2015, it was estimated that 46% of UK households have pets, with dogs and cats making up the vast majority of this figure at a combined 41%.

Contrast this with the data released in the last census, it was estimated that out of the 23.4 million homes in England and Wales, 8.3 million are rented. This figure is now presumably higher still, with the difficulties for first-time buyers obtaining a mortgage being widely publicised in the media in recent years.

Such figures show that it may be time for landlords to take a more lenient approach when deciding whether to allow their tenants to own pets within their property. This issue is one which is central to a lot of disputes that arise in rented property and ultimately rests on the terms set out in the tenancy agreement.

For a landlord considering whether to object to their tenant owning a pet, it would be beneficial to weigh up the pros and cons.

Pros Of Allowing Pets In Rented Properties:

  • Expand the scope of potential tenants

Since it is notoriously difficult for tenants to find properties that allow for the provision of pets, the scope of potential tenants will be greatly increased and further demand for the property will be generated.

  • Generate additional income

In creating a higher demand for the property, this may allow the landlord to charge slightly more rent. Furthermore, the landlord is within right to ask for a higher deposit in order to cover the cost of potential damage that may be caused by pets.

  • Create a positive atmosphere

It is widely accepted that pets, particularly dogs are a positive source of companionship for the elderly or for those that may live alone. Pets such as cats and dogs are also considered as ‘family pets’ and are commonly associated with positive family homes. Therefore, it may be the case that a property that allows family pets may attract more respectable tenants and encourage responsibility.

  • Security

The best example of an animal acting as an extra security measure for both its owner and the property is a dog. Dogs are able to provide security and alert attention in the unfortunate event that there may be an attempted break in and deter any criminal activity.

 

Cons Of Allowing Pets In Rented Properties:

  • Animal welfare

For any pet owner, the utmost importance must be given to ensuring the animal is properly cared for and maintains good health. An animal that is poorly treated may result in bad smells or even flea infestations, which would require additional cost when cleaning the property in hiring specialists to disinfect the property. Additionally, a landlord may be left with the unpleasant experience of dealing with poorly treated or neglected animals.

  • Destruction of property

Arguably the biggest concern for landlords in deciding whether to allow pets in the property is the risk of damage. Most animals that are kept as pets are capable of damaging property in some way and although tenants are likely to be under a duty to prevent this, this creates more work and cost for the landlord.

  • Public nuisance

If the property is in close proximity to other home owners who may suffer from allergies caused by the pet, this may lead to complaints and dissatisfaction. The most common animals that are kept as pets such as dogs and cats are quite easily capable of causing nuisance and disturbance in neighbourhoods. For example, a dog barking at unsociable hours may impact the landlord’s relationship with other neighbours.

If you are a landlord considering whether to allow the provision of pets to be kept in your property, it may be a good idea to actually meet the tenant with their pet in order to get a better idea of how well behaved the animal is. It should also be noted that the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulation 1999 provides for a duty to act in good faith and although a landlord is within rights to ban the keeping of animals as pets, each case is determined subjectively and is fact sensitive.

We are able to help you draw up a contract for your Tenancy Agreement and are able to assist in any dispute you may have with either your landlord or tenant. 

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