For those deeply attached to our pets, it can seem heartbreaking to have to give them away when considering moving home. Yet, for those looking to rent, it can all too often be a reality.
69 per cent of landlords surveyed by Spareroom state they insist on a ‘no-pet’ policy.
Yet, 21 per cent of pet owners admit they breach the terms of their tenancy agreement by keeping animals in their homes without their landlords’ knowledge.
For the first time, efforts to encourage landlords to reconsider their stance on pets in their properties are expected to result in a default right for renters to keep pets.
London’s best-known animal shelter, Battersea Dogs Home, has launched a campaign for a more consistent approach by the Capital’s social housing providers, stating that 10 per cent of animals it takes in are due to landlords refusing to accommodate them.
So how can landlords and renters meet on common grounds?
Sian Astley, builder, DIYer and property expert for the Homebuilding & Renovating Show, who has been a hands-on landlord of 17 rental properties for 15 years (and is a cat owner and lover!), shares her solutions below…
suggest a pet policy within the rental agreement
A solution to encourage more landlords to accept pet-owners may lie in finding a balance between conflicting needs.
Including a clause for pets within a tenancy agreement approved by housing regulatory bodies such as the NLA, MyDeposits or Spareroom, may help to inform tenants of their rights and responsibilities for any issues or damage to the property resulting from insufficient training or inadequate supervision of their pets.
Where clear evidence exists of pet-inflicted damage or difficulties, this would quash attempts to evade their responsibilities by the tenants.
show Responsible pet ownership
Tenants in rented housing displaying responsibility for the upkeep of their pets provides another solution.
Tenants should use their own judgement about whether an animal is suitable for a rental home and should be prepared to rectify issues with their pets on their own initiative.
Maintaining awareness of the condition of their animals to other residents may also help to ensure a pet-friendly environment.
propose Insuring against pet damage
Keeping insurance for both residents and homeowners can also offer an answer.
Requiring potential tenants to purchase pet insurance before they inhabit a property warrants that landlords can effectively narrow down responsible pet owners and increases the likelihood of tenants taking greater care of a rental home.
Charging increased rent to pet-owning residents who are covered by insurance may be considered unreasonable and extortionate.
agree on a Zero-tolerance for unruly pets
Despite Labour’s recent proposals to give tenants in rented properties a ‘default right’ to owning pets, an agreement between landlords and tenants can be enforced which places restrictions on badly behaved pets.
By including a clause within the tenancy agreement governing that where a domestic animal is disruptive to other residents, for example odours, excessive noise or aggression, the landlord can be authorised to prohibit the pet from occupying the premises.