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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Landlords beware - pets are coming to the private rental sector

An inventory supplier to the lettings industry is advising landlords to make sure they spot early signs of pet damage in properties - and to prepare for pets to be a bigger part of the private rental landscape in future.

No Letting Go, the UK's largest provider of inventory services, has identified a range of specific issues to watch for if their tenants have pets.

These include cat flaps being fitted to doors and claw marks on doors, which are usually caused when dogs are excited to go out. Meanwhile, cats are more likely to be responsible for torn and frayed carpets at the bottom of stairs.

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There’s also a need to monitor for pet urine on the carpet which can seep through and damage the underlay if not dealt with properly. And pet hairs are also commonly found on the back of curtains and blinds by inventory clerks carrying out property visits, No Letting Go reveals.

"As the demand for pet tenancies rises and the government aims to make it easier for renters to keep animals, agents and landlords need to have the measures in place to deal with the increased risk of property damage" explains Nick Lyons, founder and chief executive of No Letting Go.

"If managed effectively, allowing tenants to keep pets can encourage longer tenancies, increase demand for available properties and pave the way for higher average rents. However, if pet tenancies are mishandled, landlords may have to foot the bill for thousands of pounds of repairs, while agents’ chances of retaining management of a property could be jeopardised" he says.

Lyons says that while there are currently no rules to stop landlords and their agents from banning pets in properties, support for allowing pets appears to be growing. 

The Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill, which proposes to make it a right for tenants to have domestic animals in rental properties, is currently awaiting its second reading as it moves through Parliament.

And early this year the government announced that it had rewritten its model standard tenancy agreement to include more 'pet-friendly' elements, making it easier for tenants to be able to keep 'well-behaved' pets - although it is not mandatory for agents or landlords to use this tenancy agreement.

"With this in mind, it's time for letting agents and landlords to start preparing for a more pet-friendly private rental sector by making sure they have the right insurance in place, compile a detailed inventory and monitor damage through regular property inspections" he says.

Lyons adds that the combination of a comprehensive inventory and regular inspections can help property professionals to prove damage caused by pets, as well as monitoring whether they can be deemed 'well-behaved'.

"There is no option to charge higher deposits for tenants with pets due to the Tenant Fees Act, so having a range of additional protective measures and procedures in place is absolutely vital to protect rental properties in the event that a tenant has pets" he concludes.

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    Simple way to deal with this if it becomes law. We cannot ask for more deposit which would have been the sensible solution. So it’s gonna have to be MORE RENT!!!
    I’m advertising pets can stay at extra £100 per month per pet. This will go towards the inevitable new carpet and paint damage needed. Of course when someone applies I will just say yes we are considering your app along the other 20 we’ve received- bottom of the pile to join the other non desired tenants. Btw Shelter/GR/Acorn there is not a thing you can do about it

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    Problem is often the pet arrives after the tenant has moved in, at which time it is near on impossible to evict them, only way then is to increase the rent at the first opportunity.

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    That’s why I declare £100 per month extra per pet. If they have pets then they either pay or they are in arrears until they pay

     
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    • 08 March 2021 09:16 AM

    For sure there will be issues.....
    What if they get a pet, 2 days after they move in?
    You cannot do anything for at least a year to put the rent up.

    Even worse if it is an Assured Tenancy and they can get you for maybe 3 years.

    I suppose the only thing is to have it in a contract of some sort. But if it becomes law what can be done?

    They win every which way?

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    Jahan has the answer above.

     
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    • 08 March 2021 09:34 AM

    Jahan's answer is a problem if it becomes law that you cannot discriminate owners with pets.

    Only way I can see in that situation is to have a "Pet Fee" built into the contract but not mentioned as that. Is just an extra hike in rent.

    Or perhaps find a way to extract pet repair monies into the deposit.

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    Charging for pets isn't discrimination and if they query the clause choose different tenants.

     
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    Before advertising, hike the rent to cover pets then make an offer to discount the agreed rent by £100 if no pets were kept?

     
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    Its not just Pets its everything they can dream up to destroy us. Section 21 is being withdrawn to save the Councils from having to house false Tenants but too cowardly to come out and say it, blame the LL instead its easier and popular. Why is no one asking why Section 21 was introduced in the 1988 Act, because it was almost impossible to find somewhere to Rent at that time due to draconian Laws like the ones being re-introduced now

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    • 08 March 2021 10:26 AM

    Robert........As I understand it, it is likely to come into LAW that you cannot say no to pets!!

    Algarve  Investor

    Apparently not. I've seen from a few sources that the Bill currently waiting for a second reading in Parliament has no chance of making it as law because it was introduced as a Ten Minute Bill and they never make it through to actual legislation.

    I think the pressure will just grow, through the government's model tenancy and elsewhere, for more landlords to accept pets, but there will be no obligation to do so.

     
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    Dogs need exercising during the day. Ask the potential tenant what plan do they have for this during the day when they are at work. If no plan then I would reject cos its cruel!

    I think we will soon be offering rent rebate incentives to tenants so charge and show on tenancy the max rent then make agreement to offer rebate for no damage at end of tenancy. Its wrong as it hurts the honest poorer tenant but if our hand is being forced by agitator groups & politicians then this is what happens.

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Dogs Trust say exercise Every 4 hours !

     
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    Surely we have a right to refuse pets on the grounds of future tenants possibly having ‘pet allergies’. You can never completely rid properties of pet hair. We are still finding an odd dog hair, here and there, from our own dog, who died 10 years ago!!!

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    My solution around the problem is a bit like JAHAN above
    From my rental house I expect £540 per calendar month. but the tenancy agreement is written for £600 per month with a 10% discount for having No pets. They are told there is NOT a NO pet policy but as soon as they get a pet the discount is retracted. It might Not be legal but in my experience they never challenge it.

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    Stephen - I'm sure that agreement will stand. What is to stop you on inspection in 12 months time reimbursing £720 for keeping to the agreement. These people need motivating sometimes & we need to retain control to ensure respect.

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    Keep in mind that dogs have fleas! (Cats too, of course, sometimes). I agreed to a lovely old Labrador but six months after he left my new tenants were bitten by fleas. Pest controller confirmed they were dog fleas. The carpets etc had been cleaned at end of tenancy so came as a surprise to me. Apparently the eggs can hatch out many months after laying. It was too late to ask the previous tenant for £190 for the pest controller so I had to pay that!

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    • 08 March 2021 15:31 PM

    So - No pets then is the only solution.......
    But how?

    Matthew Payne

    There will be never a need to reject a tenant with the declaration, "I am rejecting your application because you have a pet". Rent is higher for pet owning tenants and a clause covers off mid tenancy pet ownership, and if they are prepared to pay these much higher rents, then you have remedy anyway.

    In rejecting a tenant pre tenancy, I have rarely ever needed to tell them why, and there isn't a need to. Most often its because another offer has been accepted, or put another way, another application was considered to be more favourable, and as you cant disclose details about other tenants you dont need to get into that detail. Cant remember in 25 years a tenant challenge me on why other tenants were better or what about their application that was inferior, and even if you got into that, there is so much stuff available to reject people over, whether job industry, age, their profile, make up of their salary eg commission, savings, your desire to have a single person, a couple, considering the neighbours, just the cut of their gib, body language, whatever, the list is endless. Ive rejected people for all kinds of crazy but genuine reasons in the past and many were simply gut feel. You can reject people if they have pets, you cant reject people becasue they have a pet.

     
  • Fery  Lavassani

    Guys I have a question. I know the law cannot act retrospectively. But will the new law apply to existing tenancies? Remember, once the life of the AST runs out, the tenancy becomes a periodical AST. A PAST is a new AST. The original AST had a clause in it stating "no pets". Give a new tenancy, you will have to comply with the law. Keep the old tenancy and let it run as PAST, then you will technically breaking the law. I am confused. Cats I can live with. But dogs, no thank you.

    Matthew Payne

    Very unlikey it would be applied to existing tenancies and if it were there would be a lead time of a year or so, so plenty of time to plan around it and increase the rent to influence the decision of the tenants. I would imagine, where they dont already apply, most leasehold owning landlords would suggest to their Freeholder that pets should be not allowed and a variation to the lease be agreed.

     
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    Any good to you ?

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    The Gov's Model Tenancy, is not Compulsory, -' As YET ' - that will no doubt be the ' next Turn of the screw ' !
    But the answer is to insist upon Guarantors, even if they be the Local Authority, who will become so inundated, they will have to stand Guarantor.
    There isn't enough portacabins !

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    The 46 pages so called Model tenancy Agreement around for years, was a disaster and therefore not taken up I tried with the best will in the World but couldn't hack it, so now their solution is come along with 68 pages of crap.

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    I like long contracts as I add my own clauses and no one ever reads them.

     
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    Very few people read any contracts, tenancy agreements, leases or insurance policies, few years ago I asked my insurance broker about some terms in my rental property policy, he couldn't answer me other to say that no one reads the small print.

     
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    Well I think keep it short like the 5 pages of Oyez 20 Agreement, not the 68 pages DCLG nightmare, but which covers all the main issues & legal points required for letting on AST, some people writes pages but doesn't help anyone really, whats on Statute is set in stone and can't be changed and any fiddling around could make it null & void, especially if you have to go to Court it might be frowned upon.

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    What I think is very strange is the 2.5m Private LL's in the Country and only a couple of dozen making the point of view known on here, where are you come out of your box, stand up and be counted, one fellow LL tried to get a petition going regarding S,21 and the response was dismal probably less than a hundred, now listen up here 38 Degrees internet portal have joined the Anti-private Landlord brigade looking for 100k signatures required to table a Question in Parliament and possibly get it, or course that's all they do full time, (funded by chip-in public) is protest about everything its very popular, far easier than providing the accommodation. Why have we no funding vehicle ???....

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