The Pros & Cons of Pet-Friendly Rentals

Pets can make a property feel more like home for tenants, so it’s just intuitive to make some provisions for them if you want to boost your rental income.

However, before you commit, it pays to weigh the pros and cons. Pets can damage property or annoy neighbours if rules aren’t set. But a pet-friendly policy also attracts great tenants who stay longer.

The key is finding a balance that works. Stick with us as we explore smart strategies based on the latest data and advice from UK property pros.

We’ll look at screening methods, pet policies, digitising agreements with property management software like Rentila, etc. Our goal is to help you benefit from allowing pets in your rentals while avoiding major headaches!

The benefits of allowing pets in your rental property

Permitting pets in your rental apartment attracts several perks, including:

1.Higher demand and longer tenancies

By opening your property up to responsible pet owners, it becomes more rental-friendly, and you tap into a huge market of potential tenants. Pet owners often struggle to find suitable housing when house hunting, so they’re likely to stay in your apartment longer instead of going through the stress of a house search.

Some studies show that pet-friendly properties have lower turnover and longer tenancies. The damage caused by pets is also generally lower, with pet owners causing less damage in general compared to non-pet owners.

2.Responsible pet owners make great tenants

While some landlords worry about damage from pets, responsible owners take proper care of their animals and rental units. They understand that keeping pets is a privilege, not a right, and work hard to prevent issues.

Responsible pet owners also tend to be more responsible tenants in general. They can even provide social benefits and improved family life, as pets facilitate human connections and friendships between tenants.

3.Opportunity for higher rents

Due to high demand and limited supply, a pet-friendly property often commands higher rents. You can charge a reasonable pet deposit and rent premium to help offset any additional costs or risks while still providing pet owners with an attractive, affordable option. Any extra fees should be proportional to the specifics of the pets and property.

With a pet-friendly letting, you open yourself up to a larger pool of responsible, long-term tenants. While any rental comes with risks, the benefits of keeping good tenants and building community far outweigh the potential downsides. Regardless, you still need to understand these disadvantages; we’ve compiled the main ones below.

Potential drawbacks of pet-friendly rentals

Allowing pets on your property generally gives you the advantage of charging a premium and reducing tenant turnover. However, you should be prepared for some drawbacks, including damage to your property, noise pollution, and legal liability.

1. More damage to your property

Unfortunately, pets can scratch, stain, and damage your property in ways that cost money and time to repair. Scratched doors, torn carpets, and urine odours are common issues. However, responsible pet owners generally cause less damage than their non-pet counterparts. Ensure proper background screening while renting out your property to ensure the best tenants.

2. Increased noise and allergy issues

Pet sounds like barking, meowing, or scratching can disturb neighbours and other tenants. Pet dander and allergens may also cause problems for some. Fleas and other pests that pets can carry into rentals create health hazards and require professional extermination.

You should ensure strict rules of pet control to ensure the convenience and safety of other tenants.

3. Legal liability concerns

As a landlord, you can face premise liability issues if a pet hurts someone or violates laws — pet attacks are among the most common landlord claims in a buy-to-let property. Aggressive breeds, in particular, may lead to legal trouble. It’s a good idea to screen pets, set clear rules about breeds and properly insure your properties.

Of course, for the right tenants and with proper precautions, the potential downsides of pet-friendly rentals can be managed. But as a landlord, you must go in with realistic expectations about the added responsibilities of furry four-legged tenants. Outlining clear pet policies helps the tenants understand their obligation to maintain order in the rental.

Setting clear pet policies in your lease agreement

As a landlord in the UK, allowing pets can open your property up to more prospective tenants. However, you also need to set very clear policies to avoid any issues down the line. We recommend crafting a comprehensive lease agreement to set clear policies on owning pets. A property management software can provide a pre-filled tenancy agreement template to work with.
When crafting your agreement, consider the following:

1. Be specific about the allowed size and type of pets

Be very specific about what you’ll allow, e.g. a maximum of two dogs under 30 kilograms each or two indoor cats. You may want to prohibit exotic animals altogether. List any breeds that are not permitted, especially those known for aggressive behaviour. Placing limits on the number and size of pets is key to avoiding damage or noise issues.

2. Collect pet deposits and fees

Requiring a larger security deposit for tenants with pets is reasonable, as it provides funds to cover any damage the animals may cause, including soiling, chewing, and scratching. You might also charge a recurring monthly pet fee to account for the increased wear and tear, but be transparent about how any such fees will be used.

3. Set comprehensive pet rules

Lay out any rules for proper pet care and management in your lease agreement. For example, requiring that cats remain indoors at all times, dogs be leashed when outside, and that the tenant promptly removes and disposes of any pet waste on the property. Prohibit pets from being left unattended for long periods, too. Requiring tenants to have their dogs trained and well-socialised is also reasonable.

4. Conduct regular inspections and rule enforcement

Conduct more frequent inspections of the unit if there are pets present to check for any damage or housekeeping issues. Be prepared to enforce the policies in your lease agreement, which may include charging fees for damage or repeated rule violations. As a last resort, you may need to terminate the tenancy if a tenant demonstrates an inability to properly care for their pets in the unit.

With clear policies and follow-through, allowing pets in your rental can be a win-win for both landlords and tenants.

Consider using a property management software for a pre-filled tenancy agreement template that you can customise to include pet rules. You can share this agreement with every tenant across your properties — all from a unified dashboard.

However, in addition to having a comprehensive pet policy, you must also prepare your property so that it’s well-suited to handling pets. Continue reading for some tips.

Tips for preparing your property for pet tenants

A comprehensive agreement can go a long way in minimising the disadvantages of renting out your property to pet owners. However, you’ll also want to make sure your place is properly prepared to accommodate both human and animal occupants.
Here are some helpful tips:

1. Choose durable, easy-to-clean flooring

Expect scratches, stains, and odours when renting your new home to pet owners. Opt for hardwood, tile, or laminate floors, which can withstand wear and tear. Carpets, especially light-coloured carpets, will show damage quickly, so avoid them.

2. Secure any escape routes

Check that windows, doors, gates, and fences are securely closed off so pets cannot get loose or run away. Install screen doors or wire mesh over open windows and balconies. Make sure any holes or cracks leading outside are repaired and sealed. The last thing you want is for a tenant’s pet to go missing!

Frequently asked questions

Can a landlord say no to pets?

Yes, a landlord can say no to pets. Tenants must seek written consent, and while landlords can’t unreasonably withhold approval, they can consider each request individually and deny it based on valid reasons.

Can landlords charge extra for pets?

Yes, landlords in England can charge extra rent for pets. However, they can’t require tenants to pay for professional cleaning or de-flea treatments at the end of the tenancy.

What are good pets when renting?

Well-trained dogs and independent cats are good pets to have when renting out your property. Well-trained dogs are less likely to cause issues, and cats that spend more time outside are less likely to cause damage.

The Pros & Cons of Pet-Friendly Rentals: things to remember

  • The pros of renting out to pet owners include less turnover and higher revenue.
  • The cons of having pets in your apartment include unexpected damage and noise pollution.
  • Before accepting pets into your apartment, screen tenants by checking their background for any bad experiences with previous landlords.
  • Establish clear rules and expectations in the lease agreement, but also maintain open communication with your tenants.
  • If you do allow pets, specify the details in your lease, including any breed restrictions or number of pets.
  • Conduct routine property inspections, both inside and outside, to check for any needed repairs or maintenance. Promptly fix issues to prevent pets from exploring these faults.
  • Take legal action or request payment for any damage caused by the tenant’s pets. However, ensure you stick to the legal process and what’s written in your tenancy agreement.

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