Renting out to people with pets have always been an issue for both tenants and landlords. Where in some cases, landlords would rather not enter a letting contract with pet owners, an outright refusal is unlawful and can cause legal repercussions.
A landlord’s apprehension regarding the issue is not without merit. Pets that are left unattended can be a problem for the neighbors, and can cause extensive damage to furniture and fixtures which would require costly repairs and replacements. A cat for example causes scratches and leaves a horrible stench when it urinates, repairs, replacement, and clean up can be very, very costly.
Before the passing of the Tenant Fees Act, landlords usually asked for a separate deposit as insurance and a separate contract that binds the pet owner to shoulder the cost for repairs and clean up, also to ensure that the animals are well looked after, vaccinated, de-wormed, de-flead, etc.
The passing of the Act prevented landlords from charging additional fees for their pets and their keep, and to cover for their losses, landlords are charging “pet rents”.
According to The Guardian, “The new practice means tenants with animals are being charged up to £50 a month additional rent for a single pet, adding considerably to the cost of housing at a time when more and more families are priced out of buying and rely on rented homes.”
Letting agents claim that the “pet rent” is one of the issues that resulted from the passing of the ban since it didn't exist before then and can become a cause of contention between tenants and landlords in the future.
ARLA Propertymark chief executive, David Cox says that charging pet rents is the only legally acceptable way for landlords to cover the cost for the potential damages that can be caused by pets.
In the past, landlords and letting agents charged “a couple of weeks extra deposit to cover the cost of a pet. The passing of the Act has made the practice unlawful and the charging of additional rent is the only acceptable way for landlords to recuperate their losses.
Not everyone shares the same sentiment, but finding a landlord sympathetic to the situation may take a bit of searching and would require a higher rent. Also, giving a prospective landlord a complete list of information regarding your pet is a good idea, like treatment records, veterinary contact, and person to contact in case of emergency.
Reference letters from previous landlords isn’t a bad idea either. A reassurance that your pet is well behaved and poses no problem can calm a nervous landlord.