Pets in Lets: Celebrating National Dog Day
It is National Dog Day tomorrow – 26th August – which is the perfect time to celebrate our four-legged companions and reflect on what the proposed changes announced in the Rental Reform Bill could mean for dog lovers. The proposals in the act range from offering tenants more secure tenancies and a ban on so-called no-fault evictions. However, one proposal within the bill will mean that existing tenants will be able to ask permission to have a pet, and their landlord will be obliged to consider all reasonable requests.
Of course, even well-behaved pooches can leave their mark in a rental property, and that is why landlords tend to decline requests to have a pet. They are often concerned about potential damage, allergies, and increased wear and tear. However, the crucial stipulation within the bill is that the tenant must arrange specialist insurance to cover any damage. As a result, it is looking increasingly likely that more households in the private rental sector will be joined by furry family members.
So just what will the benefits be for tenants if their request to keep a pet is granted?
Meeting new friends
Dogs are brilliant conversation starters, and they often bring strangers together. If a tenant has just moved to a new area, they could find they make new friends on their walks, and this can help them to settle into the neighbourhood. Tenants who feel settled in their home are less likely to leave, and in turn, this could extend average tenancy lengths and reduce the risk of void periods.
Encouraging responsible pet ownership
In the proposal, tenants who request to keep a dog must have insurance against damage. However, they may also want to prove they are responsible pet owners. Even just by asking permission, the tenant could make proactive changes to support their request. They’ll probably want to show that they are registered with a vet, they may get their pooch vaccinated to protect them against ticks and fleas, and may even decide to invest in a web cam so they can watch over the pet when they’re out. They could also hire a dog walker to take their four-legged friend to stretch their legs if they’re away from the home for most of the day.
Home is where the heart is
Home is where the heart is
In research undertaken by The Lettings Hub in 2022, the overwhelming majority of tenants aren’t allowed to keep a pet, yet more than three quarters said that they would have a pet if they were allowed.
Indeed, for many, a home isn’t complete without a four-legged companion. Allowing a dog to join a family in their home can bring joy and happiness. Just having a pet join the tenancy could change a tenants view of their property. They may see it as a permanent home, rather than a transitory stop-gap, and as such could have a greater sense of pride in your landlords investment.
Although the specifics of the insurance arrangement have not yet been announced, here at The Lettings Hub, we are already working on a range of solutions which will ensure that those tenants who do keep a pet do so without any risk to your landlords.
The Dog’s Trust has put together a free pack to help a letting agent become pet-friendly. The pack contains good practice guidelines for landlords, agents and tenants, and tips on promoting a pet-friendly letting agency.