It’s a question faced by all private landlords. Should I allow my tenant to keep a pet? For many, it’s straight forward. Under no circumstances will they allow pets in their property. Others are more accommodating. They see no problems with pets. Or their owners. But what about you? Are you still undecided on the issue? If so, we’ve put together the arguments for and against allowing tenants to keep their pets to help you make a decision. Let’s start with the pros.
Let’s look at those in more detail.
By far the biggest advantage in allowing pets is you’re opening up a potentially lucrative market. Because many landlords aren’t cat or dog-friendly there’s more demand for the properties where they’re welcome. If you’re in a competitive location or finding your property difficult to let this could be an opportunity for you.
If you allow pets, you’re likely to have potential tenants queuing up. And of course, where there’s high demand it does mean you’re able to add a premium on the usual rent you’d charge. And pet owners will be happy to pay it for a rental where they’re able to keep their pet.
So, there’s potential for added revenue here. And, this is, of course, a generalisation, but pet owners usually make excellent tenants. Yes, there’ll inevitably be exceptions, but often pet owners are the type of tenant every landlord is looking for.
They’ll realise the difficulty in finding pet-friendly homes. This provides extra motivation to look after the property and to pay the rent on time. That difficulty in finding a suitable home also encourages a tenant to stay long-term. And long-term tenants are what most landlords are looking for. They provide stability, reduce void periods and ensure uninterrupted cash flow.
That’s a lot of positives to renting with pets for landlords to think about. But as with everything there are inevitable downsides.
By far the biggest concern for pet averse landlords is the potential for damage. Dogs and cats have claws. And cats especially love to scratch. Doors, skirting boards and furniture legs are all fair game. This can create a huge amount of expensive and time-consuming repair work when the tenant moves out. The security deposit may (or may not) cover the cost of damage. But the time taken to get the property back into shape can delay the arrival of the next tenant resulting in more lost income.
Damage can also be a real issue if there’s a garden attached to the property. Dogs love to play and dig. Any grassed areas will take a real pounding. It’s highly likely you’ll need to relay a lawn after a dog has been on it for any length of time.
All good landlords will thoroughly clean their property between tenancies. But those cleaning after pet owners leave will face a bigger challenge than normal. Dogs and cats shed hair and leave their distinctive odour behind. To return the property to a fresh and sparkling state will take some deep cleaning. Again, the time and effort needed for this can be costly for the landlord.
The final negative can be the effect a tenant’s pet will have on the neighbours . And the potential for complaints and conflict.
Dogs bark. Some more than others. But a barking dog can be a real source of friction. Especially if the owners are out all day or do little to resolve the issue. While noise isn’t usually a problem with cats their wandering habits can be. Cats love to roam. They’ll visit neighbouring gardens and leave their ‘calling card’ wherever they go. This is hugely annoying for neighbours. Especially those who take pride in their gardens or have young children.
Unsurprisingly, many landlords prefer to avoid the risk of complaints by not allowing pets into their properties.
Having looked at the pros and cons should you allow tenants to keep pets? Will extra income offset higher maintenance costs? Only you can make that call. Though I suspect your final decision may be heavily weighted by whether you have a dog or cat of your own at home.
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