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Pets are extremely popular in the UK – according to PDSA, 50% of British adults own a pet, and the most popular animal companions are dogs, cats and rabbits. For the most part, landlords do not allow pets in their rental properties, but if you decide to open your property up to people with pets, you could tap into a huge market of prospective tenants. Want to more about letting to tenants with pets? Here are a few things to consider.

Does your property allow it?

Not all properties allow pets, regardless of what you decide to do as the landlord.  Typically, this is more of an issue in leasehold properties than in freehold properties, so before advertising your property as pet-friendly, you should check the terms of your lease to make sure this is allowed. If pets are not permitted, you may be able to change the lease, but this can be a tricky process.

Which pets will you allow?

You should think about which types of pet you will allow into your property. Every animal comes with its own potential problems, and it’s up to you to weigh up the risks and benefits of each – for example, dogs can cause damage and be noisy, and outdoor cats might dig in neighbours’ gardens. Smaller caged animals and fish may be easier to deal with, while more exotic pets require specialist care and the owners should be aware of this. Of course, each pet is different, so the most sensible approach is to consider each animal individually – meeting the pet can help you gauge whether they are well behaved or might be a problem.

How can you protect your property?

To make sure that you’re protected against the potential extra risks that come from renting to people with pets, here are a few precautions you can take at the beginning of the tenancy:

  • Specify in your rental agreement what animals you will allow in your property, and how many, and require tenants to ask for written permission from you for additional pets.
  • Add a clause stating that any damage caused by the pet is the owner’s responsibility alone and is not part of the ‘fair wear and tear’ allowed by most rental contracts.
  • Ask for documents relating to the animal, to check that it is well looked after (e.g. records of vaccinations, spaying/neutering and microchipping).
  • Increase the deposit or ask for a separate ‘pet deposit’ to cover potential repair/cleaning costs.

Letting to pet-owners can be hugely rewarding – because the pool of pet-friendly rental properties is so limited, you may find that your tenants are more conscientious about looking after your property and more willing to stay for a long time. Hopefully this guide has helped you to decide if renting to people with pets is the right choice for you!

Do you have a property to let in Bristol? Gough Quarters can guide you through the entire process, so contact us today to find out more.

Cover photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

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