In the world of property sales and landlordship, tenants or owners with pets are often perceived as a double-edged sword. Cats and dogs, in particular, can cause an incredible amount of damage in the blink of an eye. This is what compels many landlords and property developers to leave the “Pet-friendly” box blank when the time to search for new tenants or homeowners arrives.
If this is the first time you’ve ever considered offering your property to tenants/prospect buyers with pets, The Property Blog has prepared this short yet helpful guide just for you.
What you gain by letting pets in the property?
You have a better chance of finding a conscientious tenant.
In the UK alone, you are guaranteed to double the amount of viewings just by bringing the “No Pets Allowed” flag down!
As a result, you will find tenants much quicker and will also save a decent sum of money that you would otherwise spend maintaining your vacated property.
Your tenant is likely to stay for a longer period of time.
Due to the fact that pet-friendly rentals are so hard to come by, your tenant will likely go the extra mile to prove to you that their pet is nothing to worry about. This, in turn, will likely lead to the renewal of the tenancy agreement and renters will eventually end up with a long-term renter.
You can demand a higher deposit to cover damages
Being concerned about unruly pets making a mess is understandable. But there is a way to turn this to your advantage. To ensure that any potential pet damages to your interior will be fully covered, you can exact a higher monthly rent.
A reasonable pet fee will usually amount to a quarter of the normal rent which, when not used for repairs, will turn into a reliable source of disposable income. Flooring type is another factor to consider, so make sure to weight the ins and outs of the most popular flooring options before letting a tenant with a pet in.
Your property will receive a pair of watchful eyes
Of course, this point is only valid if your tenant sports a large dog, such as a Rottweiler or a German Shepherd. This also doesn’t mean that you should skimp on installing an anti-burglar system, especially if your property is located in a dodgy part of your town.
However, a big dog sniffing around the fence will definitely be a deal-breaker for many intruders, especially if it is а properly trained one, and your tenant will feel much safer in the presence of their fearsome-looking, but otherwise big-hearted buddy.
What you lose by letting pets in the property?
Pets can really tear down the place.
If left unchecked, cats, dogs, or even rabbits can quickly “re-imagine” the looks of your sofa or draperies in a way that would seem drastic even to the most radical of fashion designers. Sometimes forgetting to clean up fur is the exact opposite of mold prevention. If you are worried that tenants are just as irresponsible as their pet, you should revoke the deal as soon as possible.
Otherwise, if your renter decides to suddenly leave, you will be forced to invest quite a bit of money on home improvements to cover up for damage and thus attract new tenants.
Hygiene can quickly become a problem
Most pet owners get used to the smell of their furry companions to the point where they often forget about its existence. It is this scent, however, that can very easily permeate into the fabric of your furniture. If your tenant is not keen on keeping their pets clean, this lack of basic hygiene can also lead to a flea infestation (you can save some of the hassles if you have already furnished your property with pet resilient fabrics). You should also keep in mind that the odours and hair left by the pets can also trigger allergies in you or in your subsequent tenants. Your tenant’s neighbours will not be happy
If the same huge dog that is supposed to guard your home starts barking at 2 a.m., the neighbours near your rental property will be sure to take notice. Things can get even worse if the animal shows an aggressive behaviour and bites a passerby or ventures out into neighbouring yards.
Maintaining good relations with the neighbours in your property’s area is crucial, so make sure to tell your tenant about the issue and keep eviction only as a last resort.
Here are some tips on how to make the garden a pet-friendly spot and avoid any disputes with the neighbours.
They can end up wasting precious time
In the end, dealing with pets, especially untidy and aggressive ones, will only eat up huge chunks of your time. Problems will constantly arise as a result and you will see yourself constantly running back and forth, neglecting your other duties and cursing your bad luck.
The presence of pets might affect the overall price of the property
This is valid for the types of pets know to leave musty odours behind. The presence of some of the popular pets such as cats and dogs might affect the market price of your property. Pets can really ruin your interior.
Things to keep in mind before you say “YES”?
Learn everything you can about the pet
Before you allow your tenant to drag their pets inside, make sure to learn as many details about the animals as possible. Ask questions, such as when was their last vaccination date, if they suffer from any specific health conditions, and whether they have been treated for fleas and worms. The answers you’ll receive should help you determine how responsible the pet owner is towards their pets and your premises. And don’t be afraid to meet the pets in person!
Set some reasonable rules and limitations
If you’re hoping to build a long-lasting relationship with your tenant, you will need to add a few extra clauses to your tenancy agreement. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- State the type and size of pets that you are willing to allow to live within your premises.
- Add a pet-specific clause related to hygiene, obligating the tenant to, say, clean the furniture from pet hair every week.
- Have your tenant write the name, address, and contact information of the person who will be responsible for the pet in case of an emergency or while the tenant is away.
- In your agreement, state that your tenant is responsible for hiring and paying for a professional tenancy cleaning or follow a DIY cleaning checklist to spruce up the property in case they have decided to move out.
- Set up a dog friendly garden (if present).
We asked the Go Cleaners tenancy experts “What are the real benefits for booking a team of professional cleaners?” and here’s we were told: “When calling professionals, you shouldn’t worry about tools and equipment, the cleaners will provide you with such. Depending on the size of the property and level of cleanliness, sometimes a lot of detergents and tools are required to get a job done right. When hiring professionals, you don’t have to worry about that as it is already included in the price. They will polish every surface and prepare the property for the next tenant.”
Leave nothing to chance with the tips below
- On evicting your tenant: If that time ever comes, make sure that they take their pets with them. Otherwise, the responsibility for the animals will fall solely on your shoulders;
- On the tenant’s deposit: You can use the deposit in any way you see fit in case the tenant has left a mess or has altered your property in any way without your permission;
- On regular inspections: carry out quarterly inspections of your property to check on the pet’s condition and to see whether it’s as clean and playful as its owner claims it to be;
- On getting extra insurance: Paying for a slightly more comprehensive insurance plan can be of great help since not all regular building insurances cover pet-related damages;
- On property inventories: Doing one before the tenant has moved into your property will ensure that both parties are aware of how the property looks like in its initial state.
“For most people, pets are absolutely part of the family. With that in mind, homeowners are at an advantage over renters in many cases. They are far less restricted on breeds or the type of pet they may choose. Also, homeowners have far more flexibility to address their pet’s safety and wellness with things like a fenced in yard, built in gates around the house, and pet doors for access to exercise anytime. Overall, homeownership frees the family to customize their lifestyle and pet care in a way that fits them best vs living within boundaries set by their landlord.” – Lori Richardson, Vice President at Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc. – HouseLoan.com
To run a pet-friendly rental property, one has to properly weigh the pros and cons of both options. While some landlords would gladly welcome renters with pets, others would choose to rather not deal with extra chores as tenants change. To fully cover all signs of pets being present will take you quite some elbow grease and investment, especially if you are about to welcome allergen-sensitive renters. If your rental property triggers unexpected reaction, you might become a subject of legal pursuit, and that’s something nobody wants. Choose wisely for there’s a prospect for every rental, especially in the UK.