Should a landlord accept pets?

We almost always state that our default position with regards to pets is, sadly, no. But we only do this so that we get an opportunity to discuss each and every case individually, on its merit. And applicants with pets seem to have more time to discuss their circumstances in detail, presumably because so many landlords and agents stick to their default stance.

Our tenancy agreement states no pets without the landlord’s permission which will not unreasonably be withheld. The discussions we have enable us and the landlord to establish whether or not it is unreasonable.

We consider all requests for pets closely, since there are a number of potential benefits to a landlord who is prepared to consider them:

Our tenancy agreement, for example, provides that all carpets be cleaned professionally with a treatment appropriate for homes which have had pets.  Whilst professional cleaning is always the preferred position, a landlord often cannot fairly expect this is he hasn’t had them professionally cleaned prior to the tenants moving in. So, nice carpets which haven’t been deep cleaned for a while, will now be given a treat when a pet-owning tenant leaves.  And this isn’t an unreasonable term and is usually happily accepted.

We take a higher deposit, commensurate with the higher risk of damage. However, the deposit isn’t itemised into £1000 “general security deposit” and £300 “for the dog”. It’s a sum of, in this example, £1300, end of story. This gives an enhanced level of comfort for the landlord in general.

It would appear that since less landlords are prepared to accept pets and since most tenants with pets know this, they tend to stay longer.

Since we genuinely take more time to discuss their position and only accept sensible pet owners, we tend to find that they are better in other regards, for example, carpets tend to be vacuumed more regularly and more care is taken over ensuring that the pet doesn’t knock things over (making it simultaneously more unlikely that a child will either.)

Is the section of the animal-loving country that has pets for the right reason also a more caring sector? There’s a very good argument that they are and that amongst other things, they are more respectful of their surroundings which in the examples we are talking of here are surroundings belonging to the landlord. And remember, they are conscious of the fact that we are looking after a larger deposit for them.

For the right applicant, the right pet and the right circumstances, the real benefit is that a property may be let more quickly. Did you know that there are nearly 14m cats and dogs in the UK and that about 43% of the population are pet owners? That’s a whole lot of tenants with pets looking at your competitor’s property if you stick to your guns and keep saying no.