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Allow us to charge tenants for pet damage - landlords demand

Landlord leaders are calling for a change to the Tenant Fees Act to allow renters to be charged for pet damage.

Some 537 landlords and letting agents were contacted on behalf of lettings trade bodies and a pet organisation between April 4 and May 5 this year. 

The sample included a range of landlord portfolio sizes from one to five, to 100-plus. The sample also included variation in property type, including houses, flats, and HMOs. 


Results show that 85.3 per cent of landlords and agents have incurred damage to their property by pets. This is closely followed by 84.7 per cent having incurred damage by adults and 54.9 per cent incurring damage by children. 

Whilst landlords have experienced damage from pets, adults and children, the extent of the damage is mainly caused by pets. 

Reports of damage amounting to £1,000 or more was the most common answer to the value of pet damage, and over half of respondents were unable to recoup pet damage costs specifically.

Damage incurred by children appears to be the cheapest of the three types of damage to repair. Due to a disparity in the number of pets compared to adults in all tenancies, the results show that damage caused by adults (closely followed by pets) is the most expensive damage to resolve. 

However, reports of damage amounting to over £1,000 was the most common answer to both the value of pet and adult damage. 

While the majority of landlords and agents told the survey that they let out their property unfurnished, analysis of the data showed that neither type of let was more likely to be damaged by pets. This suggests that landlords hoping to avoid expensive pet damage bills by letting property unfurnished are likely to be disappointed. 

Some 57 per cent of landlords and agents said they were unable to recoup the costs of damage by pets; 29.7 per cent recovered costs from the standard rental deposit and 11.8 per cent recovered costs through a special pet deposit. 

While only 0.5 per cent of respondents had previously been able to recoup the costs of pet damage through an insurance policy, 65.5 per cent told the survey that this is the preferred solution to the problem of pet damage that would encourage more pet-friendly rentals. 

Some 45.9 per cent would like tenants to pay through the landlord for this insurance, while 19.6 per cent trust the tenant to hold this and claim themselves. 

And 30.5 per cent of landlords and agents said that they would prefer a separate pet deposit is included as standard for lettings with pets. 

Finally, four per cent said that an additional element added to the standard deposit would encourage them to rent to people with pets. 

James Wood, policy manager at the National Residential Landlords Association, says: “With many landlords unable to recover damage caused by pets, it is no surprise that landlords generally prefer to let to tenants without pets. Particularly those with smaller portfolios who are not able to absorb the losses caused by damage. 

“If the UK Government is to increase the supply of pet-friendly homes then it is vital that landlords and agents have confidence they can recover the cost of repairs. 

“Amending the Tenant Fees Act to permit pet insurance or pet deposits would provide this confidence and give tenants with pets more options in the private rented sector.” 

And Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark, adds: “The data from this research backs up what Propertymark and others have been warning for some time, that the unintended consequences of the Tenant Fees Act have reduced the appetite for many landlords to take on the greater risk of damage. 

“With the demand for pet friendly homes continuing to increase, the UK Government must now understand the costs involved for landlords and implement rules that support the sector to take on greater risk in order to support more people to rent with pets.”

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  • George Dawes


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    Whilst I agree that a separate pet deposit would be a good thing, LLs can still claim damages caused by tenants & their pets through MCOL if the deposit is not high enough.


    In 40 years as a landlord I have never received any payment as a result of a Moneyclaim, I only make a claim so that the next landlord will not be scammed.


    Over the years I've often used money claim online, don't always get the money but that's not the point, for me there is the princible

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Of course Landlords can claim through MCOL, -- its actually enforcing a debt that is so ineffective, - such that only about 10% of Judgement Orders get collected.
    If a tenant can afford to keep a pet, they can afford the extra 2 weeks worth of rent ( at least ) as a deposit.

    I know many landlords pet damage claims run well in excess of 2 weeks rent, but making tenants have ' some skin in the game ' is somewhat effective.
    Indeed, before the TFB, it was routine for landlords to take an extra Deposit for pets, and it was willingly paid.

    Govt need to take responsibility for excluding pets, through their totally unrealistic intervention by Tenant Fee legislation.
    It was a prime example of Govt not having a clue about matters upon which they were intervening - legislating. ( No change there ! )

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    Yes Making the claim is one thing, getting the money is another

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    Insurance policies may not pay out, so I think these days the best option is higher rent where there are pets. Basically we match the rent to the risk of damage. The other option is tenants to pay for own floor coverings. I just had tenants with a dog ask me to pay for new carpets, I declined and I told them why.

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    1. Elderly tenant - quite deaf. Two very nice dogs (although she didn't ask permission). I suppose she didn't hear them bark or scratch at the door to go out - so the poor things wee'd on the floor by the door. We didn't realise until my builder came to check out her report of damp by the door. The smell under the rotting carpet was unbelievable - joists and skirting boards all had to be replaced.
    2. New tenant in a 2-bed house. With no garden - absolutely no outside space. I called round shortly after she moved in - she had a dog the size of a small pony. Said she had 'forgotten' to mention it. When it galloped up and down the stairs, it lifted the carpet - so the carpet had to go. (And so did she eventually.)
    3. House had tip and tilt dg windows. There was seal along the bottom edge of the frame. Where the cat used to jump in and out of the window, her claws had completely shredded the seal - tenants probably didn't even notice and neither did I until after they left.


    The only way now is to charge increased rents in the anticipation of damage, the downside being that good tenants will be paying for the bad tenants, but that's life, no one ever said that life was fair.


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