Should you allow pets in your rental property?
As a landlord, it’s natural to want to protect your property. The homes you own are a big investment and if you’re to realise their potential through rental income then you need them to remain in a good condition.
It’s with this in mind that many landlords choose not to allow people to rent their properties if they have a pet. But is this really the best option? What should you weigh up when it comes to allowing pets into your property?
Pet owners pay more for the privilege
We are a nation of pet lovers – with about 46 per cent of households owning at least one – and by barring pets from your properties you will be cutting down your pool of potential tenants. Given that people filter their property searches online, they might well not even see yours if they tick to look at pet friendly homes only.
Not only that, but pet owners might well be desirable from a financial point of view. One study found that pet owners would be prepared to pay £484 a year more to find a property willing to take their pet – and many are even willing to shop around for an extra bedroom for their pet.
Pet owners, therefore, are not only commonplace but take their commitment seriously and pay a premium to look after their pets.
Avoid the need for ‘secrets’
There are many instances of tenants flouting the terms of their rental contract to keep pets against the knowledge of their landlord. Clearly, this is wrong but it can put you in an awkward position as a landlord, creating a dispute that will need to be resolved. No-one wants to get to this position.
It might well be better to consider an open and honest relationship in which your tenant tells you about their pet and you set the parameters and manage the position properly.
Get an agreement in place
With that in mind, it’s worth considering that you could easily spell out the terms of permitting a pet within your rental contract.
In this, you could specify pets that you are happy to accept and set out a specific inspection regime if you are nervous about the impact on the condition of the property.
Remember too that – as this guide from Simple Landlords demonstrates – you should complete an inventory with the tenant when they first move in. During that process, you should spell out the existing condition of your property. This, therefore, lets the tenant know the condition that you expect the property to be returned to when they leave.
With that agreed – and signed by both parties – you would then be in a position to expect the tenant to repair any damage caused by their pet (or them of course). This could include a deep clean if you are worried about the state of the carpets, for example.
Don’t rule it out without a thought
At the end of the day, it’s your property and it’s up to you whether you allow pets or not. However, it’s certainly not worth ruling them out without giving it a proper thought. With the right rules and parameters, welcoming pets could even be a lucrative selling point for your rental property.