Property Letting Advice: Pets Still Causing an Issue for Prospective Tenants & Their Landlords
If you are a pet owner looking to move into a rental property you will perhaps already know that finding a Landlord who is willing to accept your pet isn’t as easy as it sounds! Many Landlords prefer not to accept cats and dogs due to the damage caused by them and irresponsible owners.
Of course, Landlords know that the majority of pet owners are responsible and wouldn’t have a pet in the first place if they weren’t going to care for it. The issue here is that it only takes one irresponsible owner or uncaring tenant to cause a huge amount of grief for a Landlord.
Tenant Referencing Prior to Tenancy
Most letting agencies, including us, have a process of referencing a tenant prior to them being agreed for a tenancy. The vetting process (no pun intended!) usually includes credit & employer checks along with a reference from their current Landlord. The credit checks won’t tell a Landlord if they care for their current property but their previous Landlord reference might just do that.
Credit referencing agencies usually ask the referee to complete a questionnaire based on how the tenant has behaved or how they have performed their obligations. It is always difficult to give a bad reference as by doing this, a Landlord could find themselves with a tenant who is unable to move as no-one else will accept them! However, if someone refuses to give a reference they usually have a good reason why and this should start to ring alarm bells for the prospective Landlord.
Additional Deposits for Pets
As a general rule through Castle Estates we usually ask for an extra £100 in the deposit per pet, subject to the Landlords approval. (You will probably find that most agencies around the country have a similar system with the additional cost varying.) We find this works quite well as this re-iterates the point to the tenant that the property must be looked after because there is more money in the pot to be lost if they don’t and the Landlord can sleep soundly knowing that there is more deposit money available should it be needed.
Undeclared Pets Cause Upset for Landlords
Some tenants feel that they have to keep their pets a secret which is bad news all round. You will find that most tenancy agreements contain a standard clause that prevents any animals being kept at a property which means that, if the Landlord finds out about the ‘secret pet’, they could have valid reason to ask you to leave the property.
A recent case that came through our office was that of a tenant who had moved into one of our managed properties and, a few months into the tenancy agreement, began looking after a family members dog. To be fair, the tenant had suggested that the dog had no-where else to go but this shouldn’t have prevented them from asking for permission and instead they left it until one of our periodic visits when we found the dog sat looking up at us in the hallway! The Landlord in this instance was reasonable and gave the tenant plenty of notice for which to have the dog removed from the property and after a lot of aggravation (and damage to the property by said tenants) the property was eventually returned to its original state.
Pets That Leave Their Unwanted Guests Behind!
Another problem that we have heard is when a tenant with a dog has left the property and at the final handover, everything appears to be fine. It was only later on, once their deposit had been returned, and a viewing was taking place that little black blobs started to appear on the viewers’ legs. Fleas!
I looked into this and found that fleas can lay eggs and will only hatch when they are vibrated. Whilst they are laid on the back of a cat or dog this is usually only a problem for the animal but once they find their way into the carpets you probably won’t even know they are there! With this particular property being completely empty until the viewing took place, the eggs had lay dormant until the carpets were walked over again.
It is always a recommendation that any carpets or fabrics are thoroughly cleaned at the end of the tenancy and, if done professionally, keep the receipt as proof!