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Market forces will decide whether landlords accept pets - lettings expert

One of the country’s leading lettings experts has written that whether landlords will accept pets in rental properties will not be decided by the law or campaign groups, but by market forces.

David Alexander, managing director of DJ Alexander, writes in The Scotsman that while most tenancies explicitly forbid pets, the issue is not about whether landlords like dogs, cats or other animals - it’s about the practicality of damage and wear and tear.

Alexander writes that bodies such as the National Office for Animal Health and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have both started campaigns for pets to be allowed in private rental properties. 


A compelling argument, he suggests, is that tenants may stay longer if they have, say, a dog. 

“In principle I welcome this trend; what I would not like to see, however, is a situation emerge whereby landlords are compelled, by law, to accept tenants with pets in yet another parody of ‘human rights’ legislation” states Alexander. 

He continues: “Given the current over-supply of rental stock and ongoing concerns about the ability of many existing tenants to maintain rental payments once the furlough scheme ends, many more landlords will now have no objection, in principle, to welcoming new pet-owning tenants with a stable financial and personal background.”



But he insists that it is this - the manifestation of market forces as landlords want longer term tenants - that will eventually prevail, rather than being forced by law. 

You can see his full article here.

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    Over supply of rental stock ?? flats in London maybe, not houses in Norwich. It's upto the landlord if they want pets in their property and their's alone.

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    But he is right - market forces will decide - so leave us alone to get on with running our businesses.


    Yep, and market forces will decide that pets are not such a good idea so this is a non problem for landlords who will not allow pets under almost any circumstances.

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    In the case of flats, leasehold agreements often restrict or prohibit the keeping of pets. Has anyone seen any comment amongst rental experts or pro-pet lobbyists recognising this 'hurdle', or have they simply not thought this through? Any new law will surely not take precedent over millions of existing leasehold contracts.

    Matthew Payne

    No, no legislation would be able to overrule the interests of the lender or freeholder where obligations on the leaseholder already exist. My understanding is that any proposed legislation is going to be fairly loose anyway, basically allowing landlords to still reject pets, but only with sensible justification as opposed to none at all now. The actual proposed wording, centres around the word "reasonable". A landlord can easily justify rejecting a pet based on this as there are plenty of circumstances that being forced to accept a pet would not be. For example, lease restrictions as you say, perhaps a large dog in a small flat, or the owner is at work all day, so animal welfare, or you the landlord have demostrable allergies and you plan to move into the flat in the future, or perhaps a previous landlord reference highlighted pet damage - there is a long list.

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    Can they not keep their nose out of anything, it’s not their property not their business. Should be nothing to do about allergies or whether LL wants to move back-in or not, what’s that got to do with anything. We didn’t need their advice before we bought, get any financial help from them why then are they the almighty powerful making rules for us demanding what ever they can dream up. Perhaps we should start making rules for other Businesses that’s nothing to do with us and dictate what they should be doing, its all rubbish go buy your own see how smart you are when the loan is your responsibility.

  • Kathryn Everson

    Well probably one of the first sensible articles about the serious issues of Animal in rentals. I particularly like these parts .....'the issue is not about whether landlords like dogs, cats or other animals - it’s about the practicality of damage and wear and tear.' having lost thousands in damages in the past, this sadly is my experience, and 'what I would not like to see, however, is a situation emerge whereby landlords are compelled, by law, to accept tenants with pets in yet another parody of ‘human rights’ legislation” again, such a valid point, having lost so much due to damage caused, I do not feel, I should be placed under the stress of possible threat of major expenses for damages unless I choose to take that risk. As the owner of the property, I must have some rights respected as well

  • Jennifer Berezai

    AdvoCATS is campaigning for change, but change that is fair to all parties. We see the greater prevalence of pet damage insurance as the way forward, and are actively pursuing getting the List of Permitted Payments under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 amended to include a landlord's right to stipulate that such insurance is held - for a copy of our report "Heads for Tails" which examines the problem and the insurance option for both landlords and tenants, please message me.

    Jen Berezai
    Founder, AdvoCATS


    Sorry. Insurance companies can afford fancy lawyers. I can't.

    Prevention is better than cure, so NO PETS.....ever!


    Insurers are there to make a profit - if you put a profit making organisation between LL & tenant all you do is increase the costs to - guess who - the tenants! Not to mention the difficulties in trying to get an insurance policy paid for by a tenant to pay out to a LL.

    In addition, even the most well behaved pet will increase the wear and tear on a property. I don't really mind a cat in a house with a 10 year old carpet but I refuse to have one in a house with a brand new one!

    Anyone with a pet in my property will find their rent going up to the max!

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    JS explain what you are writing about pls.


    How is your mother in law?



    That comment could be a threat. I have reported it.

  • George Dawes

    I don't mind cats but dogs - no way

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    I love cats and dogs I have them myself. I would like to do everything for my tenants to keep them happy. I operate I no eviction policy, do not take deposits and all my tenant's have direct access to myself amongst many other benefit for my tenant's. However, my experience of my tenants having pets has been awful. I operate bedsits and nearly everyone who has a pet has allowed the pet to destroy the room to the extent it has to be stripped out after they leave and fumigated. Many, not all of the dog owners allow the dogs to foul everywhere. I have over the years adopted four cats and a dog left behind by my tenants which made lovely pets. I have also had a couple of snakes left behind by tenant's which at the time I didn't realise were very valuable and gave to the RSPCA .

    This is unfortunately the sad reality many of my tenants are incapable of looking after themselves never mind pets. How do you distinguish between the good pet owner and those who are not? Because I said nearly every pet owner has caused me problems .

    The HMO daddy


    I would certainly agree that bed sits and flats are not suitable for dogs, houses with gardens can be suitable for one dog but I certainly would not allow large or dangerous dogs in any of my properties.

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    JC if you are referring to me, my mother in law died several weeks ago from catching covid19 in hospital, my wife who now has dementia brought on by a trauma in hospital, is trying to get to terms with that, thank you for your concern JC

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    Sorry just re read it was JS asking about someones mother in law.
    Apologies to JC.

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    Likewise as Jim I don’t take Deposits either, since they were taken away by Shelter in 2007 based on untruths.
    The idea of having a Deposit was to protect the Property they changed all that, the Deposit is now to protect the Deposit & not the Property, even worse than that you might have to give the Tenant back 3 times the Deposit if not put in some mad scheme and served correctly. Also used as an extra weapon as something to beat the LL over the head in Court. I concur HMO daddy it not worth having, causing so many Tenants to be out of control & no redress.


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