According to new data released by estate agents, JLL, there has been a 25% increase in tenants letting with pets in the last five years, however, these tenants are likely to see rents increase once the Tenant Fees Act comes into force due to the five-week deposit cap.
Lucy Morton, Head of residential agency at JLL, comments: “We have seen an increase in people letting with pets in recent years for several reasons; a rise in dog and cat ownership, the UK's relaxed quarantine laws which came into effect in 2012, as well as the fact that tenants are renting for longer. They want to make their house a home and this means bringing a pet with them. Landlords who allow tenants to keep pets usually do so by charging a slightly higher deposit which would cover any damage or additional cleaning should it be required.
With the five-week deposit cap, landlords may be deterred from letting to tenants with pets or forced to charge higher rents to cover any potential losses. The increase would depend on the rental value, but we anticipate approximately an additional 3-4% per week. For example, a rent of £700.00 per week would potentially rise to £725.00 per week to make up for the shortfall."
Lucy continues: “With a host of regulations that landlords must adhere to, as well as the changes to mortgage interest relief, the fee ban and five-week deposit cap is adding yet another cost. This gives landlords no choice but to increase rents in order to see a return on their investment and they will need to hold firm on asking or renewal prices. However, tenants will only be happy to pay more if the property is of high quality and well-presented. It's the properties in the best locations offering quality amenities that will attract tenants willing to pay a premium.
Whilst some agents were charging unnecessarily high fees to tenants, I do think the government should have capped fees rather than scrap them altogether or made allowances for landlords letting to tenants with pets. The government needs to be careful not to completely deter buy-to-let landlords – they are an essential part of the overall housing market, providing a home for those who choose to rent, and people with pets shouldn't be made to lose out.”