The pets factor

The single biggest reason why private tenants move is to find landlords who accept their pets.
This is the finding from a survey by the Deposit Protection Service (DPS).
The DPS canvassed 1,000 tenants who moved between October 2021 and March 2022 with 30% saying they had done so to accommodate a pet.
In a similar survey last year only 7%cited pets as the most significant influence over their decision.
This year, just 11% of respondents cited ‘more outdoor space’ as the reason for their move, making it the least common influence over their decision, down on the 18% figure last year.
Sheldon Bosley Knight’s lettings manager Claire Paginton said: “This issue of allowing pets in lets is not going to go away and this research proves it.
“Many people acquired a pet during lockdown and so this trend for tenants who want and need accommodation which allows their pet to live with them has been growing for the past couple of years.
“The Rental Reform White Paper, announced today, makes clear tenants will have the right to request a pet in their home, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.
“Given the strength of feeling, this new ruling which is likely to come into force before the next election, and the fact it is clearly a major shift in priorities for tenants, we would urge our landlords to be mindful and accommodating as much as possible, but on the proviso they have a robust tenancy agreement which mitigates for any damage caused as a result.
“As ever if any of our landlords want more information please do get in touch with your lettings manager.”

The DPS has issued six top tips for tenants and landlords organising a pet to live at a property.

1: Confirm ‘pet rules’ in writing

Landlords should be clear on any rules that allow pets in the property, for example the limit on the type or number of animals or whether the tenant can or cannot breed the animal at the site – and put those in writing.

Landlords should share the document with the tenant, and both sides should sign it and keep a copy in case there are disputes or damage at a later stage. Landlords cannot ask for a separate deposit to cover pet damage, however.

2: Get the right insurance

Landlords should check that their property’s insurance policy includes accidental pet damage, a feature that is not always standard. Landlords may need to alter or find a new policy to ensure coverage.

3: Emergency contact

Tenants should also provide an emergency number for somebody who can look after the pet if they fall ill and need to go to hospital.

4: Landlords must by law allow certain pets

Landlords must always allow people with disabilities who need an assistance dog to have one inside the property.

 5: Ask for a pet reference

Landlords can also ask for a pet reference from a previous landlord or vet to understand whether the animal is aggressive or has received its vaccinations and correct treatments. They can also ask to see the pet as part of their pre-tenancy checks.

6: Arrange regular inspections

Landlords and tenants should agree regular inspections to assess and discuss the condition of the property, which can reduce the chances of a dispute about any pet-related damage at the end of the tenancy.