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Sparks Will Fly - Campaigner for pets to face questions from landlords

Next week a webinar will give landlords and other property professionals an opportunity to put questions directly to one of the most prominent campaigners for pets to be allowed in lets.

Jen Berezai, co-founder of AdvoCATS and Heidi Shackell, chief executive at The Lettings Hub are joining forces on July 26 , hosting a webinar discussing what the Renters Reform Bill and Fairer Private rented Sector White Paper will mean for letting agents and landlords. 

Shackell explains: “Pets in Lets is an exciting concept for us at The Lettings Hub, however we know it has split the industry. Understanding what letting agents and landlords think of the proposal is important to enable us to support our customers as best as possible. 

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“Joining forces with Jen from AdvoCATS has given us insight into what is already on the market and allows us to answer the burning questions the industry has about what is upcoming.”

And AdvoCATS’ Jen Berezai adds: “At AdvoCATS we have a lot of knowledge in animal welfare and pet rescue which has allowed us to build a brand in which we are able to help not only tenants keep their pets when moving into a new home but give landlords the reassurance and protection they want. 

“Agents need to be prepared for their landlords to be more sensitive over who is coming into their house as they will feel as though they have lost control. Therefore, it is important to give agents the tools to speak to their landlords and make them feel as comfortable as possible through the process, and make sure their landlord portfolio stays where it is.”

The Lettings Hub says 60 per cent of the population own a pet and 3.2m brought in lockdown, according to Pet Food Manufacturers' Association. A survey conducted by Pet Plan reported 26 per cent of pets brought during this time were first time owners with new pets most popular with Londoners and 18 to 34 year olds - demographics that involve substantial numbers of private renters.

Register for the webinar and submit your questions here.

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    An experienced pet owner wanting to bring an existing pet is very different to what the Rental Reforms White paper is proposing.

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    I don't think so really, Jo.

     
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    The problem is how experienced is a new pet, not the house trained owner.

     
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    An experienced pet owner like Jen Berezai who has admitted on Property Tribes that her cats got fleas?

     
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    Pet food association ?

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    Unfortunately although a nation of animal lovers there are also a substantial number of irresponsible pet owners. How do you tell if your tenant is one of those?

    For me, anyone who is out at work all day - most tenants - should not have a dog and no passport or insurance product will change that view.

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    Very important points!

     
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    Jo
    Are you a landlady ? You don't seem to live in the real world.

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    Edwin
    Of course I'm a landlord.
    With a mixed portfolio and a complete cross section of tenant profiles.
    I have second year undergrads through to benefit assisted over 60s. Lots of graduate professionals and 3 families with young children. Non stop landlord since 1998 but did dabble in the late 1980s and actually started out with a DSS B&B occupied by young offenders.
    I live in a very real and very varied world.
    What about you Edwin? Are you a landlord?

     
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    Edwin is obviously a landlord, as he puts forward the case for landlords in terms of periodic tenancies, tax, pets, other elements of rental reform etc.

     
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    I've never met a pet owner who admits to being irresponsible. And even a responsible owner would have to admit you can't train a cat if it likes to scratch walls and furniture and a teething puppy will happily chew anything it can get its mouth round. We all know that insurance and deposits will never adequately recompense the costs of any damage, or the time spent dealing with that damage and the longer voidswhile the remedial work is done.

    Until tenants are contractually obliged to fully make good repairs, cover all costs and void periods, backed by a guarantor - most landlords will not be in favour of this.

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    As long as there are several groups of tenants chasing a property, pet owners, benefit claimants and other groups who might impose higher risk will not be chosen over working tenants with no pets and property owning guarantors.

     
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    The only way pets in rentals will work is to have a much higher, ring-fenced, pet deposit. Surely not beyond the wit of the tenancy deposit schemes? Combine this with a strong pet repair clause in the contract. I speak as a pet owner, landlord and letting agent.

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    I would prefer to stick with a lower deposit and lower risk tenants.

     
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    I agree Robert, particularly because many cat owners are not aware that their cats have fleas, and that only becomes apparent once the cat-owing tenants have left. When the cat (the host for the fleas) has gone, the eggs hatch and fleas will be all over the legs of the new tenants. Unfortunately, even very thorough cleaning does not eliminate the fleas' eggs. The eggs are like glue.

     
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    It needs to be an insurance product. A deposit could never be big enough to cover all the damage an unsupervised animal could cause.
    Scratched walls, skirting boards, doors and doorframes, chewed up kitchen units, shredded carpets soaked in wee, laminate floors destroyed, etc.
    One of my tenants arrived with an existing dog that seemed OK. Then it had puppies and they decided to keep one of the puppies..........(see above)

     
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    Insurance companies employ fancy lawyers to make things as difficult as possible for those making a claim.

    As I understand it, ANY claim should be disclosed every time you take out or renew any insurance and that will result in higher premiums and even stop you from using comparison sites.

    The only possible solution would be for the pet owners to have strict liability with a requirement for any landlord's claim to be met in full before they are allowed to rent again with any pet.

    However with other safer options available, I won't be taking any pet owners as tenants.

    The rights of potential tenants who may be allergic to pets, or who may be bitten by fleas from former tenants' pets, are ignored.

    Human rights should always trump animal rights.

     
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    Ellie, first hand experience there, my youngest daughter went to Plymouth uni (waste of time but that's another story) we took her down to her second yr digs and stayed over night, flea bites all over our legs , turns out builders had been in while empty and a cat came visiting while they were working, long enough to leave her fleas, the landlord was very good and got it sorted straight away.

     
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    It was good that the landlord could get it sorted, Andrew. If a cat has been there for a long time, the fleas' eggs can be everywhere - in the carpets, in the mattresses, in the sofa and chairs, even in the kitchen flooring.

    It can take three to four months to get rid of an infestation because that is the time needed for the fleas to go through all their life stages. It could render the accommodation uninhabitable.

     
  • jeremy clarke

    Tell it to one of our landlords who allowed a small well behaved dog into her property 2 years ago. On vacation, lawn completely ruined, carpets smelly and snagged, compost bin full of dog poo and a deposit that won't cover replacing even 1 carpet!

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    There's just been an article on BBC Breakfast about people who bought pets during lockdown unable to find anyone to look after their pets when they go on holiday.

    It looks as if many pet owners don't think through the full consequences of pet ownership and I really don't want tenants who can't or won't take full responsibility for their own decisions.

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    That's the problem. That cute little bundle of fluff rapidly turns into a boisterous, expensive to run liability that requires huge amounts of the owners time.

     
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    Animals make excellent companions, particularly for single people but I don't understand why people in small houses need to have multiple animals and why anyone who works full time thinks it's OK to leave an animal alone all day.
    Having allowed 4 lots of tenants to keep pets I would say NEVER EVER AGAIN!!! The mess left, dog and cat hairs, ruined laminate floor and dog poo in bins and all over the garden. And there was one case of 2 continually yapping dogs who made life hell for the neighbours. I repeat NEVER EVER AGAIN.

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    If I had to allow a pet I would charge additional rent to 'self insure', or raise all my rents to cover pet damage, as you can't tell if a tenant will get a pet later.

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    That's the only way now John, increased rents, I don't see any other way.

     
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    If it were to be covered by an insurance product, what is to stop the tenant stopping the payments to the company?

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    That is the issue. It would need to be something that the landlord charged the tenant for and passed the money to the insurance company to ensure it was actually paid. It needs to be the case that any claims count against the tenants no claims record, not the landlords though. So basically a different set up to anything that currently exists. It's maybe something a letting agent could sell to a tenant but would data protection prevent them from telling the landlord if the tenant cancelled the policy?

     
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    Jo - Given what we all know of ALL governments, do you really think a system as complicated as what you described has a chance of occurring? I am afraid I do not.

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    They want pets but it will be the landlords responsibility. I have had it all don’t need analyses, reports or studies, cost me several hundreds to have a house fumigated by specialist plus throwing away beds virtually new and 3 piece suit, carpets had to be rolled back and treated etc..it’s not my first day on the job like the rule makers.

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    Pet food companies are sponsoring these type of pressure groups ! It's constant pressure to undermine society, George Soros is often funding such activists.

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