Lets with Pets: How New Rules Change Renting With an Animal
Almost half of the UK owns a pet (45%), which means there is every chance that you have a little four-legged friend if you’re a renter. However, once upon a time, renting a property with a pet caused nothing but headaches.
Having to pay higher deposits and landlords outright banning pets from their properties, narrows a renters’ margin for finding a home for them and their pet. Over the years, however, there has been a shift change – with landlords gradually opening their arms to the little Rex and Rovers of this world.
Build-to-rent options also provide pet-friendly tenancies, which means landlords need to keep pace.
The whole letting with pets conundrum is less of a burden than it was before for renters, but there are still issues.
To combat any resistance towards letting with pets (at least in the eyes of the government), UK housing minister Robert Jenrick aims to end pet bans altogether.
We take a look at what this means for both tenants and landlords and how it might work.
More choice for tenants
Even with a more friendly attitude towards pets in lets, it is estimated that only 7% of rental properties are pet-friendly. New rules calling for an end to pet bans would provide more freedom to renters, who are typically staying in properties for longer than previous generations.
With people living in a rented property for an average of three years, the pet ban will come as welcome news. However, tenants with pets should still need to convey that their animal is responsible and won’t ruin the rental property.
Cautious optimism for landlords
Landlords would be forgiven to raising an eyebrow over the news. However, the ending of the pet ban should be looked at in context. It is unlikely that tenants will be allowed pets in flats, where head leases still primarily forbid animals.
There also needs to be a balance, giving landlords the power to reject pets that are poorly behaved. On the bright side, landlords have a greater pool of potential tenants to choose from by including pets. This will be particularly helpful for minimising void periods on buy-to-let investments.
How will the new tenancy agreement work?
While the specifics haven’t been ironed out, it seems the wording on model tenancy contracts will be altered. Restrictions on well-behaved pets will be lifted, theoretically making it easier for tenants to rent with their pet.
The government has been clear that landlords’ opinions around the subject need to be respected and their properties protected against pets that cause damage. However, it’s not yet clear on the specifics for how pets will qualify as “well behaved”. Total bans on renters with pets will still be implemented where there is good reason, such as smaller properties that are impractical.
Lets with pets
On the subject of letting with pets, Robert Jenrick said: “Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owner’s through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property.
So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract to encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners. And we will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both.”
While nothing is yet set in stone, it looks like renting with pets is about to become a less arduous task. However, the solution needs to be one that suits both landlords and tenants, creating a fair way of renting with a pet for all.