Landlord industry bodies are calling for a change to the Tenant Fees Act to allow rental deposits to be more flexible.
It follows a survey conducted by the NRLA, ARLA, Propertymark, Landlord Zone and East Midlands pet charity AdvoCATS which revealed the extent of damage caused by pets in rented accommodation.
The What’s the Damage survey, carried out between April 4 and May 5 this year, demonstrated how many landlords struggle to recoup the costs associated with this problem.
According to its findings, 85% of the 537 landlords surveyed said they had experienced pet damage in their rental properties.
Reports of costs amounting to £1,000 or more was the most common answer reported, with 57% of those surveyed saying they were unable to recoup any of the money spent. Only 29.7% were able to recover any financial outlay from the standard rental deposit and 11.8% got any money back through a special pet deposit.
As well as pets, 84.7% of landlords said adults were a cause of damage with 54.9% of those polled saying children were the cause.
Respondents included landlords whose portfolio sizes ranged from one to over 100 and included properties such as flats, houses and HMOs.
The survey results come at a key time for the ‘pets in lets’ debate, following the release of the government’s White Paper last month announcing plans to give tenants a right to live with their pets subject to ‘fair and reasonable’ tests.
Sheldon Bosley Knight’s head of lettings, Carolyn Arnold said: “We have long recognised the importance of pets in peoples’ lives especially for those who live on their own.
“However, the pandemic saw an increase in the number of people who acquired pets and who want to bring them into their rented properties. Our landlords have been more than accommodating but it will potentially result in more damage and it is not something all landlords can afford.
“It’s therefore essential landlords have confidence they can recoup the cost of any damages caused by pets. Amending the Tenant Fees Act to allow pet insurance or pet deposits would provide this confidence and give tenants with pets more options in the private rented sector.”