Landlords: Realistic expectations needed when letting with pets

Landlords: Realistic expectations needed when letting with pets

Letting to people who have a pet is something that more and more landlords are starting to come round to, however, it is still something that is frowned on by the majority. However, people with pets can often be prepared to pay a premium, and can actually be fantastic tenants. For landlords worried about making this step, a new report suggests that simply lowering expectations can be a great way to make the most of the opportunity. 

According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), the majority of landlords have unrealistic expectations of what condition they will find a property in when a tenant moves out. This can be particularly problematic when it comes to dealing with pet rentals, where wear and tear will be more of an issue.

Some of the main problems can actually fall at the start of a tenancy rather than at the end as well, surprisingly. 

As a landlord renting to people with dogs and cats, particularly the first time you do so, it can be easy to assume that damage will be caused by the animals, and a common mistake will be for landlords to have this negative thought from the off. 

The problem is, however, that if you haven't taken the time to inspect the property and the inventory before your tenant moves in, there can be a degree of dispute when they come to move out if you claim the damage was caused by their pet. 

Pat Barber, chair of the AIIC, said: "We have seen many cases where the landlord or letting agent has not bothered to read the check-in inventory, so when it comes to the check-out, they are unrealistic over issues, which they believe should be included in the check-out and charged to the tenant."

So what's the best way for landlords to mitigate against this? The simple answer, it almost goes without saying, is to just thoroughly check before a tenant moves in. 

There will always be a short vacancy period between tenants, and you should use this to your advantage. With a copy of the inventory to hand, make sure you are going around the property to check all fixtures and fittings and any furnishings to ensure that the condition of them is correctly recorded. You can even take pictures if you want to give yourself a little bit of extra security. 

If you have a good working relationship with your new tenant, you could also look to carry out this pre-tenancy inspection alongside them. It allows you both to talk frankly about the condition of everything on the inventory and come to an agreement before they move in.

Set up an appointment with them at their convenience in the first few days after they've moved in and go through the inventory piece by piece until you can both agree on the state everything is in. It might sound like a tedious task, but in the end it will create a better understanding between you and the tenant, as well as helping to lower the chance of disputes at the end of their tenancy period. 

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