Are You a Pet Friendly Landlord?

The good news is there’s no shortage of renters out there. Rising house prices and the struggle to get a deposit together continue to rule out the possibility of owning a home for millions, but it’s a good idea to think about what potential tenants are looking for in a rental property. 

The growing need for pet friendly landlords

If you’re not a pet friendly landlord yet, it may be time to reconsider your stance. One of the main sticking points when it comes to choosing a property to rent is whether it welcomes pets – as Rightmove reported that being pet-friendly was the most sought-after property feature in 20211.

Many tenants know that they’re going to be renting for the foreseeable future, and they’re no longer willing to put off investing in a pet in the hope that they may own their own property one day.

With more professionals working remotely post-pandemic, we’ve seen a huge number of people welcoming a cat or a dog into their household as they’re now around more during the day. In fact, according to the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association, households bought 2.3 million pets during the pandemic. The demand for pet friendly rental properties is rising sharply every year, so it might just be worth becoming a pet friendly landlord if you want to appeal to a wider pool of tenants.

Why rent out your property to pet owners?

Choosing to rent out your property to pet owners is a big decision, and recent figures from the government show that only a tiny 7% of landlords are willing to accept our furry friends.2 That means if you choose not to accept pets at your rental property, you could be missing out on a large slice of the pie when it comes to attracting potential tenants.

One of the most common challenges for landlords is finding tenants to stay long-term. As people who live with their pets are likely to stay longer3, renting out your property to tenants with a pet in tow could be a wise decision. Your tenants may start to consider moving on when they want to buy their first pet, and the option to have one as soon as they’re ready will help your tenants to view your house as their proper home.

Look out for changes in the law

It may sound drastic, but wheels are in motion in parliament to make it more difficult for landlords to say no to pets. Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell is calling for a change in the law that will make it easier for pet-owners to rent. Currently, the Tenant Fees Act prevents landlords from requesting a higher deposit from tenants who have pets4.

This is making landlords more reluctant to accept pets, and we’ve seen fewer landlords choosing to be pet friendly since the Tenants Fees Act was passed in 2019. Some landlords choose not to accept pets at all, while others add an increase to the rent to cover any potential damage caused by the pets.

As a result, a group of MPs and House of Lords peers are calling for change, lobbying for pet deposits to be added to the list of permitted payments and for the issue of pet insurance to be reviewed. A report submitted by Mr Rosindell found that 53% of tenants with pets said they would be happy to take out pet damage insurance if it meant they could rent a property5.  

The risks of welcoming pets

As loveable as they are, cats and dogs bring their own unique set of risks to any home, but careful planning, a clear contract and the right landlords’ insurance can help to protect you and your rental property. Landlord insurance policies vary, so check the terms and conditions of your cover to see if your policy includes cover for pets.

Sources:

1 Article: ‘Demand soars for pet-friendly rental homes’ on rightmove.co.uk

2 Press Release: ‘New standard tenancy agreement to help renters with well behaved pets’ from Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and The Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP

3 Article: Should landlords allow pets in their rental properties?’ from martinco.com

4 Rosindell 2021 Report: ‘Pet Damage Insurance Options Report’ on rosindell.com

5 Rosindell 2021 Report: ‘Pet Damage Insurance Options Report’ on rosindell.com

This is a marketing article by Towergate Insurance.

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