As a landlord, it’s important to understand the current landscape concerning the issues with renting to tenants with pets. The lockdowns caused by coronavirus means that there are more people with pets than ever before.
There also may be a concern that some pet owners don’t have the experience of the average pet guardian as they take the plunge for the first time. Naturally, there could be some concern from landlords about the state of their properties.
In this article, we will take a look at five things that you should consider when renting to tenants with pets.
In 2018 the regulations regarding tenant deposits were changed. In England, the amount was capped at the equivalent of five weeks rent, and landlords are no longer allowed to charge extra fees for many things they may have considered before. This includes charging fees for tenants with pets.
Before this law, landlords may have considered accepting pets by adding an extra deposit amount. However, now there is far less flexibility to do this anymore.
The government issued model tenancy agreements now stipulate that pets should be allowed by default. This is a change from how it used to be, as the onus used to be on the landlord to accept pets.
This change of atmosphere should certainly be at the forefront of landlords’ minds if they don’t want pets on their properties. They are soon going to need a good reason not to allow them.
There’s currently legislation in Parliament that is looking to protect the welfare of animals. Incorporated in this legislation are several measures that could change the legal responsibilities of the landlord.
The bill works on the premise that pets being separated from owners is akin to siblings being separated. The love and attachment between pets and owners should not be cast aside because a person has to rent a property.
The bill states that if they don’t want pets on their property, landlords have to object within 28 days, in writing. Tenants will have the upper hand, as landlords will need to make a logical and reasoned argument with just cause.
It may be that the landlord does not want to allow pets on religious or medical grounds. Or it may be that the landlord feels that their property is not suitable for pets.
The bill also suggests the tenant should have a responsible animal guardianship certificate, demonstrating that they are fit and can ensure that pets are not dangerous or a nuisance.
The Dog and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill could change things significantly. Landlords must know what this will mean for their property and tenants to have a balanced and responsible view of the rental relationship.
Landlords should also know that tenants will remain responsible for the damage caused to their property by pets. Landlords should therefore consider requesting that tenants have suitable insurance to the level of the potential damage that a pet could cause.
This will mean them taking suitable contents insurance, alongside the landlord having their own insurance policies.
It’s clear that landlords need to keep a keen eye on the changes that are happening. With laws and regulations changing, landlords should stay in the loop to understand what is required of them legally.
Landlords need to understand their responsibilities and ensure that they work within the current and future legal ramifications of renting to tenants with pets.
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