Using the Landlord Law Pets Agreement and Information Form27-04-2022 | Pets
The Model Tenancy Agreement now says pets are allowed by default. This means landlords need to be accommodating if a responsible tenant with a well-behaved pet makes a written request to keep one.
Whilst landlords can still refuse to allow tenants to keep pets, they must provide a reasonable excuse in writing within a 28-day period of the tenant’s request. For example, the property is too small to house a pet of that size.
Even if you don’t advertise yourself as a pet-friendly landlord – at some point or another – you are likely to run into a tenant with a furry friend. In fact, there are around 17 million UK households responsible for a pet’s welfare. So, it’s pretty inevitable that your property may become home to a pet of some sort in the future.
With this in mind, it’s wise to include some reasonable pet-related policies in the rental agreement. That way, the tenant knows what is expected of them and, more importantly, you can ensure the tenancy is a walk in the park.
Read on for the full lowdown on using the Landlord Law Pets Agreement and Information Form.
What is the Landlord Law Pets Agreement and Information Form?
The Landlord Law Pets Agreement and Information Form is essentially a pet policy for tenants. It serves as an amendment to the tenancy agreement and sets out pet clauses under which tenants are permitted to keep their pets.
What does the form cover?
Here’s everything you need to know about using the Landlord Law Pets Agreement and Information Form and what it covers.
Details of the pet
The Pets Agreement and Information Form provides for up to three pets. If the tenant has more than three pets, their details can be set out in the ‘additional clauses’ section.
Tenants will need to provide the following information:
- The type of animal
- The breed
- The sex
- The colour
- Microchip details
- Vet details
- The name of someone willing to look after the pet(s) in case of an emergency
Note that permission to keep the pet(s) will be limited to the animals listed on the form.
Pet clause in rental agreement
The pet form will change the rental agreement and, in turn, ultimately change the way you and your tenants do things. Here are the pet clauses in the rental agreement you and your tenants need to keep in mind:
- The tenant is only permitted to keep the pets listed on the form
- The tenant needs to get your permission before keeping any more pets
- The tenant must make sure their pet is looked after properly. It’s important to report any neglect or mistreatment to the RSPCA or another animal welfare organisation
- The tenant must arrange for someone to take care of their pet(s) whilst they’re away
- The pet must be vaccinated properly and the tenant must provide written confirmation from their vet
- The tenant is responsible for ensuring their pet isn’t a nuisance to neighbours and doesn’t damage your property
Deposits, rent and damage
At the end of the day, damage is damage – it doesn’t matter whether it’s caused by the tenant or their pet. However, given that landlords in England and Scotland can no longer charge fees for extra cleaning as a result of fouling and odours or even flea infestations, it’s easy to see why pet damage is such a big concern for many landlords.
With this in mind, it’s sensible to have a pet policy for tenants in place. Part of this policy may include other adequate provisions, such as charging higher deposits to tenants with pets.
Note that the total deposit landlords can take is now capped. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 states that any tenancy which was signed on, or after the 1st of June 2019, must adhere to the deposit cap rules. This means that where the annual rent is less than £50,000, security deposits will be capped at five weeks’ rent. Similarly, where the annual rent is £50,000 more, security deposits will be capped at six weeks’ rent.
If the tenant fails to comply with the terms of the tenancy agreement and pet form, then you will be able to take the cost of putting this right from the tenancy deposit as you usually would.
If the tenancy deposit cannot cover the damage, you can ask the tenant to pay the cost voluntarily. If they refuse, you may need to claim it through the small claims court.
Just to be on the safe side, detail the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy in the inventory and regularly keep up with inspections. It’s also important to keep a record of any expenses incurred.
How much does it cost to change a tenancy agreement?
If you would like to amend an existing tenancy agreement to include a pet policy for tenants, this could cost up to £50.
Thankfully, when using the Landlord Law Pets Agreement and Information Form, you can charge the tenancy agreement amendment fee of £50 where this is allowed. Plus, the pet form provides for the rent to be increased. Increasing the rent can help cover the cost of potential damage. Though, it’s a good idea to set the rent on a pet-by-pet basis.
Note that no landlord insurance policy will cover pet damage, so the pet form will not have any impact on your policy.
We hope you find our advice on using the Landlord Law Pets Agreement and Information Form useful.
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