An outright ban on letting to tenants with pets is illegal, but we all know that lots of landlords would rather not have a dog living in their property, potentially chewing the front door every time the postman appears. Landlords have, however, had the right to refuse a letting where the property wouldn’t suit that particular pet or where the pet may cause a disturbance to neighbours. Where landlords have agreed to allow pet owners to rent, they have often increased the deposit for the property or included an additional part to the tenancy contract which states the renter must pay additional cleaning charges and pay for any damage to their property, as well as agree to look after the animal properly.
The introduction of a ban on increased deposits and fees was introduced in 2019.
What does this mean for renters with pets?
The cap being placed on the deposit that can be taken for renting means that landlords can no longer take larger amounts upfront to cover the additional risk when a pet owner is looking to move into their property. It also bans taking additional amounts for cleaning from tenants. To get around this, landlords can be left with no option but to charge rent for the pet as well as its humans to ensure they are covered should there be additional costs involved in getting the property back up to scratch when the tenant leaves.
In some cases, landlords are charging up to £50 extra per pet per month. In this era of perpetual renting due to the difficulty in getting onto the property ladder, many tenants could be priced out of the market because of this loophole.
Property inventory software, from companies such as https://inventorybase.co.uk/, makes property inspections and reports much simpler and more accurate. Landlords and their agents could choose to use a simple process for inspecting and evaluating any damage to properties, but it seems that it is quicker and easier to charge tenants per month for their pets.
Has legislation caused this issue?
It would seem that it has. Prior to the introduction of the deposit cap, there was no such thing as rent for cats and dogs. Unfortunately, since June 2019, it seems this has become commonplace in lots of areas across the UK.