Most experienced landlords will have had bad experiences with tenants’ pets damaging their properties or causing a nuisance with neighbours at some point in the past.
I had a tenant in my early landlord years that had another mouth to feed virtually every time I visited the property. He proudly presented them to me – not just dogs and cats but ferrets, lizards and even a dog fish amongst countless others. It was my experience with him that quickly taught me a few lessons on tenants with pets.
The first thing you’ve got ask yourself is whether or not the property is suited for a particular pet. Is it really appropriate to keep a large (or small ) hound in an upstairs flat? A dog cooped up in there could cause a real nuisance if it kicks off in the middle of the day when your tenant is at work. I won’t allow a pet in a flat. Most of the flats where we let have shared yards and lazy tenants that allow their dogs to foul this shared space just bring problems to our door with us having to deal with irate neighbours and often we’ve had to work with the council to sort matters out.
Dog owners can really be a problem if they don’t clean up after their animals and can cost you a lot more money if they don’t house train their pet. Dogs left alone in locked rooms can rip up carpets scratching at the door and chew door frames. I’ve had skirting boards rot away because lazy owners allow their dogs to cock their legs in their favourite corner of the room.
It’s not just dogs that can cost you a few quid though. Cats can be a problem too. They love to stretch their claws and pull on them on your furniture and if you have blown vinyl on the walls you’d better have a decorating budget!
So, how can you minimize pet problems?
- Decide if your property is appropriate for pets. Does it have its own garden for a dog for example?
- Be clear from the outset what your policy is and be very clear with your tenant on the consequences of ignoring clauses in their tenancy agreement and the potential for eviction if they are.
- Include in your agreement a clause that says only the pets agreed at the start of the tenancy (if any) are allowed in to the property so none can be added.
- If accepting a pet consider the potential additional costs that the regular tenancy deposit might not cover and charge an extra pet deposit.
- If you are going to allow pets, consider landlord insurance with additional cover for pets.