It’s a controversial question – whether to take on a tenant with a pet. For many landlords it’s an obvious no-no. However, there are a few potential advantages, as well as some approaches that can make it a positive experience.
Here are the pros, the cons, and what you need to consider if you are going to allow pets in your rental property.
Pros of being pro-pet
First, it helps you stand out. Since the majority of landlords don’t generally allow them, your property will be one of the rare options for those people who are attached to their pets. This also means you might be able to charge a bit more in rent since pet-owners will be grateful to have found you.
It also means you’ll have a larger potential rental market, since committed pet owners rule out those properties that don’t allow them. According to Chancellors, as many as 45 per cent of UK households own a pet, so refusing to rent to them can significantly limit your market.
Additionally, pet owners know well the fears of landlords regarding animals, and will often do their best to be good tenants, paying rent on time and taking exceptional care of their living spaces. They also will likely be less inclined to move, given that a pet-friendly property is a rare find.
Cons of being pro-pet
The most obvious one is, of course, the fact that they can cause major headaches when it comes to property upkeep. It can be like having an extra-messy and inconsiderate tenant who doesn’t have the well being of your property in mind.
Additionally, they can also bring with them some unwanted odours, especially if their owners aren’t exceptionally conscientious about keeping them clean. But even when hygiene is a priority for the pet-owner, the pet generally also comes with a characteristic and unavoidable smell.
Another thing to think about is the neighbours and the neighbourhood. You might be okay with the risks to your property of housing a pet, but will the people living nearby be okay with the noises and potential damage that pets can bring with them?
Above all, you may need to consider the fact that pets can come with some extra costs (furniture repairs, cleaning fees) when your tenants move out.
What to consider before taking on a tenant with a pet
First, meet the pet and see what it’s like. While an owner will be able to clean the pet up for the occasion, they won’t be able to control it if it’s one of those that tends to misbehave. So in one brief meeting, you’ll be able to learn a lot about whether the pet is a good bet for your property.
Additionally, ask for a reference from the previous landlord. Whether or not the potential tenant is able to provide you with this will tell you everything about whether they are a good match.
Finally, don’t be a afraid to put a pet-related clause in your tenancy agreement. This will protect you down the line if you do decide to become a pet-friendly landlord.