For tenants with furry friends, finding rental property that will allow pets can be a real obstacle. Many landlords employ a ‘no pets’ policy, and they have their reasons. However, with a growing number of people having little choice but to rent well into their 30’s, the views and laws on pets in rentals could be changing. The UK’s Labour party are currently campaigning to strengthen the rights of tenants to keep a pet in their rented property. Under the 2015 consumer Rights Act, a landlord can only refuse permission if it is reasonable to do so; for instance a big dog living in a small flat, a pet likely to cause damage or a possible negative impact on future rental prospects. Labour’s plan calls for there to be a need for evidence that the animal in question was a nuisance in order for permission to be refused. A huge 78% of pet owners have experienced difficulty in finding accommodation which accepts pets and research shows that tenants are willing to pay hundreds of pounds extra to rent a pet friendly place to live. So why aren’t landlords answering the demand? Many are beginning to see the potential in the market, but many are still unsure about taking on the issues that can come with housing pets…
Of course, with animals comes the potential of damage to your property. Untrained and badly behaved dogs are probably the ultimate culprits for this kind of problem, particularly puppies who are still learning what is right and wrong. Destructive pets are said to cause more than £600 worth of damage to their owners’ homes during their lifetime. That being said, it differs from dog to dog and the majority of dogs are likely to be trained and well behaved. If they are being left alone for long periods of time though, this can trigger destructive behaviour so it’s well worth both meeting the dog in its current home to assess its nature and chat to the potential tenant about their lifestyle.
Some landlords may encounter damage with cats as they have a tendency to scratch - nothing that can’t be solved with a scratching post. Aside from that, they are fairly low maintenance animals. With small pets such as rabbits, hamsters and such alike, if left to run free at any point then you’ll likely come across chewed wires and carpets so it’s best that these animals are kept caged to avoid damages.
Allergies are increasing worldwide and it is estimated that over 30% of the UK population suffer from allergic reactions. Pet allergies are often a concern with landlords as subsequent tenants may be sufferers and could either be in moderate discomfort with an itchy nose and eyes when in the property or worse, be in danger of an asthma attack if they come into contact with animal hair. Fur can be very difficult to get out of carpets and, particularly sofas. However, it’s not impossible and if the property is adequately cleaned, vacuumed and aired between tenants then it shouldn’t be a problem. If there are stubborn traces of fur, it may be a case of getting professional cleaners in which can be quite an expense.
As we know, with animals often comes fleas and mites. Fleas have been on this planet for approximately 100 million years and there are over 2000 species and subspecies that we know of. They can consume 15 times their body weight in blood on a daily basis and females can lay around 2000 eggs over the course of their life, which is usually around 2-3 months. No matter how clean a pet is kept, simply a walk in the park or a sniff in the garden can result in fleas. They can even be picked up within homes having been brought in on shoes or clothing. Fleas jump and attach themselves to items so they could be anywhere at anytime.
Most responsible pet owners will give their animal regular flea treatments to avoid infestations but the problem can quickly get out of hand if they don’t. If fleas get onto carpets, curtains, clothes and soft furnishings, they can be pretty difficult to remove and if the problem persists after washing and treating with a household flea treatment product, they may even need to be replaced. In extreme cases, pets in the home may even attract rats and mice. They are often drawn to pet food and feces so with almost any type of pet around, apart from perhaps a low maintenance fish, your home will be a more attractive environment for them.
On an equally disgusting note, the majority of pets are not particularly clean. Most dogs are likely to be toilet trained and cats will use a litter tray, however there’s not a lot that can be done in the way of stopping birds, rabbits, ferrets or exotic pets going to the toilet whenever and wherever they fancy. And it’s not just in the house that this can be a problem. Cats in particular may take a liking to going to the toilet in neighbours gardens and flowerbeds which could easily result in complaints and feuds if the neighbours are keen gardeners.
The odours left by pets can stick around for a while and cling to soft furnishings, making them unattractive to the next tenants. If urine alone soaks into wooden flooring or a carpets underlay then it’s very difficult to get rid of the smell. People who don’t have pets and aren’t used to being around animals will probably notice this smell in a property and this may put them off.
Another prominent issue with pets in properties is the noise and the complaints that neighbours may make. The main culprits here are dogs and excessive barking. It’s important to gage your prospective tenants lifestyle and find out whether the dog will be left alone for long periods of the day, as this is when barking can begin and become an issue. Very often excessive barking can be managed and solved with behavioural training, however this is something your tenant will need to take on and take seriously.