Pets, Lets and Triple Threats: Protecting Your Property from Pets
The UK is a nation of animal lovers, but it’s also a famously tricky place to find pet-friendly rentals. While contents insurance can provide some peace of mind for accidental damage, furry friends can cause damage that isn’t covered, so it’s understandable that landlords are wary.
The Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill is currently under review in Parliament and is designed to ensure responsible pet ownership, which should reassure landlords that their property is in safe hands (or paws!).
In the UK, only 7% of private landlords advertise pet-friendly properties, meaning many tenants have to seriously consider giving up their four-legged friends in order to find a home.
The bill proposes certification that proves owners are responsible, ensuring the microchipping of dogs and cats and confirming they’ve had their required vaccinations. However, if a pet could potentially cause danger or harm within their neighbourhood, they simply won’t be allowed.
Protecting Your Pets and Home
According to the RSPCA, there’s an estimated 12 million pets in households across the nation. But although pets are known for leaving paw prints on our hearts, they’re also famous for leaving something else – and that’s damage to your household items.
It’s understandable that landlords are wary of allowing pets in properties, especially if it’s a furnished home. A puppy-in-training can be labelled a liability because they aren’t toilet trained, which can lead to smells and stains, and they tend to chew anything in sight!
While our Contents Insurance doesn’t cover the damage that pets can do (chewing and scratching is just the tip of the iceberg!) we do offer a range of protection including tenant liability that allows you coverage for up to £2,500 worth of accidental damage to your landlord’s property, so your tenant can focus on keeping Fido under control.
But not every pet is hell-bent on destruction. There are plenty of positives!
Positivity with Pets
Many owners report their pet’s near-miraculous ability to calm them at the end of a stressful day and scientists too have found pets do have that therapeutic touch. Many people with mental health issues have emotional support pets, whilst some hospitals and care homes welcome animal visits to soothe their patients.
One key aspect to pet ownership is social recognition, this identifies another being as someone important and significant. This bond formed between owners and pets is similar to that of a mother and her new born.
Author and researcher Meg Daley Olmert explains it clearly: “When we call our dog, ‘our baby’ it is because we recognise it on a neural level as such.” This recognition triggers the same maternal bonding brain network that happens when a parent sees their newborn for the first time.
Academic and psychologist June McNicholas also points out how pets can lift the spirits of socially isolated people, saying “pet care and self-care are linked. When you take a dog out for a walk, people talk to you and that may be the only social contact an isolated person has the whole day.”
Going for a joyful jaunt outdoors with your pet is bound to boost your mental, physical, and even cardiovascular health. Pets have even been known for teaching kids responsibility and compassion by adding structure and routine to their day.
Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP recently said: “We are a nation of animal lovers, and over the last year, more people than ever before have welcomed pets into their lives and homes.” Thanks to the pandemic, pet ownership thrived in 2020/21, resulting in half of UK households owning at least one pet.
According to Statista, 45 – 47% of households over the last 10 years owned pets, but 2021 saw an unprecedented 59% spike during the pandemic. Covid-19 no doubt played a huge part in the increased pet ownership as family and friends were unable to meet due to lockdown measures, increasing the lack of social interaction and time spent at home.
This is why it’s truly upsetting for pet owners to part with their beloved pets, as many consider their pets to be like family members—and rightly so, because the thought of being forced to part with your furry friend can be distressing both mentally and emotionally.
Perhaps you are a landlord looking to make your premises pet-friendly. You may wish to consider a professional check-in, so you have evidence about the condition of the property before your tenant moved in, which will make it easier to claim back on the deposit if there is any damage. With our Inventory Check-In & Check-Out you can relax knowing a professional will collect the keys and advise on the condition of the property once check-out time comes rolling around.
Keep Calm with Comprehensive Cover
While it’s very important to insure your pet, so you don’t have to worry about their healthcare needs, it’s also important to insure your home against any potential damage, especially if you are a tenant!
Our Comprehensive Cover could be exactly what you’re looking for, allowing you to safeguard your contents for up to £30,000. It won’t cover you for pet damage, but it will cover accidental damage and theft, so you can focus all of your attention on training your pet to be the perfect tenant.
If you’re a landlord who wants to welcome pets into your properties, we recommend making sure your tenants are pet-proof before they move in:
- Swapping out carpets for laminated, tiled or hardwood floors is a good shout, or you could consider high-performance carpets that are more easily cleaned
- Eggshell and satin paints are the easiest to clean and many brands have a ‘washable’ version, which is the safest bet!
- If your property is furnished, furniture protectors are a good investment to protect legs from teething puppies or sharp-clawed cats. For soft furnishings, corduroy or canvas are much more durable and heavy duty options
- Keep communication open with your tenants and make sure they’re using puppy pads and training their pet to be as good a tenant as they are. You can also add a pet policy to the lease agreement, so you can make sure your tenants are signed up to your requirements if they have or choose to get a pet
As a landlord, you’re opening up to an entirely new world of potential tenants by becoming pet-friendly. But it is ultimately your tenant’s responsibility to be a good pet owner and protect your property.
If you want to keep up with the progress of the Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill, check out the link HERE.