Landlords: How to let to pet owners

Landlords: How to let to pet owners
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Tenants around the country are always looking for a diverse range of things from their landlord. However, as more and more people look to rent rather than buy homes in the UK's growing tenant culture, there has been a rise in the number of potential customers who want to rent alongside their dog, cat or other furry friend. 

In the past, landlords may have just rejected this idea and looked to another tenant. However, just because someone has a pet doesn't make them a bad tenant, and if they have a great history of renting and glowing references from previous landlords, it would be silly to disregard them. 

However, when you are dealing with letting to pet owners, there are a few important things to remember. These issues can differ from the ways in which you would rent to a single person or a couple, and it's worth keeping these tips in mind when it comes to agreeing to a contract between yourself and someone and their furry friend. 

Deposit

Tenancy deposits are a great way to give you protection against the potential for damage to your property. Most landlords' main worry when it comes to letting someone with a dog or cat is that the pet will scratch, chew or otherwise damage furnishings and fittings within the property. A deposit helps protect against this, however - if a property is indeed damaged by someone's pet, then the deposit should be enough to cover the repairs and replacements, meaning you as an owner are not left out of pocket.

The unofficial industry standard for a tenancy deposit stands at around six weeks rent. So for a property that costs £1,000 per month, the tenant would normally put down a deposit of £1,250. If you're letting to pet owner, however, this should be higher in order to protect yourself against the increased risk of damage - after all, you don't want to be left with a big bill when someone comes to the end of their tenancy. 

The best way to deal with this is to sit down with your prospective tenant and talk to them about the deposit. Put down your offer, talk to them about their pet and its behaviour - you may even want to meet it - and come to an agreement over what would be a fair down payment for your peace of mind. 

Tenancy agreement

The tenancy agreement will be your main protection when you're dealing with allowing pets to stay in your property. While the majority of owners will be responsible, you don't want to be faced with a situation where you sign a tenancy agreement for one professional woman and her dog, only to find a few months down the line that she has a full litter living there.

It is vital to make sure you're tenancy document is watertight, then. Outline what your agreement allows in terms of the pet staying there, and be as specific as you can possibly be. Don't be afraid to even include the breed, colour and even the name of the dog or cat to explicitly state what the agreement is in terms of the pets being allowed in your property. 

You will also want to add in clauses that state that any additional pets need to be cleared with yourself before they can be brought into the property, as well as ensuring the tenant knows that they are responsible for any cleaning and maintenance work that is caused by their pet. This can include professional cleaning at the end of the tenancy to get rid of the smell of their pet from the home. 

Regular checks

The last thing you'll want to make sure you agree with the tenant is that you'll have regular checks of the property, just to make sure everything's running smoothly. Responsible pet owners will be used to this and will accept that it's something they need to do to keep their landlord happy. 

You don't want to be intrusive, but having the chance to look around and make sure there is no damage to the home will mean that you have peace of mind, as well as allowing you to deal with any issues straight away. Many tenants will not report problems until they become far more difficult to rectify after all. 

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