For many who rent, a massive 78% in fact, finding landlords who accept their pets has put them in a position of experiencing difficulty with finding a property. With the number of people having no choice but to rent well into their 30’s continuing to grow, the pressure on landlords to change their policies surrounding pets is stronger than it has ever been.
With research showing tenants are willing to pay up to hundreds of pounds extra to find a pet-friendly place to rent, why are landlords not answering the demand? With some landlords beginning to see the market potential, many are still dubious about allowing pets in their property.
CIA Landlord Insurance takes a look at the pros and cons.
Over the course of their lifetime, destructive pets are said to cause around £600 worth of damage to a property; this damage subsequently reducing its value by up to 5%. With this in mind, it is easy to understand why landlords are put off by the thoughts of having an animal within their property. Untrained dogs, particularly puppies, are said to be the main culprits for this.
That said, every dog is different and a large percentage of dogs who have responsible owners are likely to be trained and well behaved. If they are left alone in the property for long periods of time, this may trigger destructive behaviour. It may well be worth seeing the dog in its current environment to assess its nature and speak with the potential tenant about their lifestyle to gauge whether the dog will be spending most of its day alone.
Damage may also be caused by cats as they have a tendency to scratch – this is easily resolved with a scratching post, however. Other than scratching, cats are relatively low maintenance and landlords tend to be more inclined to take on tenants who own a cat. This goes for small pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs etc. It is best to ensure these pets remain caged though, to avoid damage to wires caused by chewing and carpets.
Over 30% of the UK population suffers from allergic reactions, with this being one of the highest allergy rates in the world. Pet allergies then, are a concern for landlords as this has the potential to cause problems with subsequent tenants and pet sufferers regarding renting the property in the future.
It can be highly difficult to get the fur out of carpets and sofas. As long as the property has been adequately cleaned, vacuumed and aired prior to new tenants moving in this should not be too much of problem. However, if there are stubborn stains caused by the animal, this may result in professional cleaners being required, incurring added costs to either the landlord or depending on what is stipulated in the tenancy agreement, the tenant.
With animals, comes fleas and mites (sometimes). Fleas have graced this planet for approximately 100 million years, with there being over 2000 species and subspecies that we know of. An animal catching fleas is not ultimately down to the pet being dirty, it can be down to something as simple as a walk in the park or a sniff in the garden which can result in them catching fleas.
If an animal starts with one female flea at maximum egg production, over the course of 60 days there is the potential for more than 20,000 fleas to be in your home. If fleas end up in your curtains, clothes or hidden in your carpets the situation can very quickly escalate out of control. They can be very hard to remove and if the problem persists after washing and treating with flea treatment products, the items may even need to be replaced.
Tenants do not want a flea infestation anymore than their landlord does. Fleas are no fun for the animal too as they can lead to problems such as hair loss, skin irritation and worse. Responsible pet owners will regularly treat them with flea treatments to avoid infestations and to keep their pets happy and healthy.
Fouling and odours
Dogs, over a ten-year lifetime, can produce anywhere up to a tonne of faeces and cat poo contains the Toxoplasma Gondii parasite which has been known to cause birth defects if it manages to make its way into humans.
Adult dogs are likely to be toilet trained and cats are able to use litter trays, but animals such as birds. rabbits, ferrets or exotic pets tend to ‘go to the toilet’ whenever and wherever they fancy. This is not just a problem within the house, cats are known to take a particular liking to ‘going to the toilet’ in a neighbours garden and flowerbeds, posing the potential to result in feuds and complaints.
Odours left behind from animal faeces can stick around for a long while, clinging on to soft furnishings – making them unattractive to prospective tenants. Urine soaked wooden floorings or carpet underlay is very difficult to clean and will likely, again, rely on a professional cleaning service.
41% of regular issues surrounding nuisance neighbours in the UK are noise related a primary culprit for this being dogs and their excessive barking.
Many dogs bark at between 90-100 decibels, roughly as loud as somebody shouts. This brings in the point again to gauge a prospective tenants lifestyle to see if the dog will be left alone for a long time each day, as this is often when persistent barking will become an issue. Excessive barking can be solved with behavioural training, however, this is something the tenant will need to take seriously if they want the issue to be resolved.
On a more positive note, interviews with former burglars show that, alongside CCTV, a barking dog is the biggest deterrent for break-ins.
Should you, or shouldn’t you?
Yes, there are a fair few issues that come with pets in the home, but there are also many solutions to these. Does the potential to maximise on what a tenant will pay, outweigh the cons outlined?
The Labour Party, based in the UK, have campaigned to strengthen the rights of tenants who wish to keep a pet in a rented property. Labour’s plans state there would need to be evidence from a landlord, which proves the animal is a nuisance in order for permission to be refused.