Pros and cons of allowing tenants to have pets in their properties

Pros and cons of allowing tenants to have pets in their properties

A new report from YouGov has found that two-thirds of renters who would like to own a pet can’t because of their landlord, leading to loneliness and dissatisfaction with their tenancy. 

As a landlord, deciding on a pet policy can be tough. There are some obvious drawbacks to allowing cats and dogs in your properties, but there are positives, too, so it’s about finding the balance. Below, we’ve rounded up the pros and cons to give you some food for thought.

Pros of allowing pets in your rental properties

  • Longer tenancy: Pet owners are more likely to sign long-term tenancy agreements once they’ve found a property they - and their pooch - feel at home in. Why? Many landlords don’t allow pets, so if they’re satisfied, they’ll be more loyal than others.
  • Higher rent: If renters have limited choices in your local area for affordable rental accommodation, they’ll cough up more to find a pet-friendly apartment or house. Be reasonable, here; adding a cleaning fee to the end of their tenancy is perfectly acceptable but charging an extra £150 per month for a tenant with a dog is not. 
  • More tenants: Data shows that almost half of all renters have a pet, so if you limit your properties to non-pet owners, you’ve got a smaller pool of people to choose from, meaning your home could be on the market for much longer - or fail to be let.
  • Avoid sneak-ins: If you don’t allow pets, tenants might push their luck and sneak one in any way. It’s best to be open and know how your property is being used, rather than limit tenants and have them house cats and dogs without your prior approval.
  • Happier tenants: Happy tenants are quieter and stick around for longer periods of time. If your tenants know they can bring their furry friend home with then, they’ll feel more at home, take pride in looking after your property, and be a courteous tenant.

Cons of allowing pets in your rental properties

  • Damage: Pets aren’t as civilised as humans. Expect scratched floorboards, chewed skirting boards, accidents on your expensive carpet and urine damage to your grass.
  • Neighbour complaints: Let’s face it: we all worry when a new neighbour moves in. Will they have a noisy dog? Will their cat do their business all over our new shrubs? Animals can disturb other tenants and your outside neighbours. Bear them in mind.
  • Loss of tenants: If you own an apartment block and a noisy neighbour moves into Flat 1A, your tenant it 2A might decide to look elsewhere so they can get a good night’s sleep. Warn your tenants of new neighbours and their pets, and have strict rules in place to ensure noise is kept to a minimum, and mess is picked up promptly.
  • Odours: Even the cutest pets in the world are a little smelly. Accidents can’t be avoided and the right cleaning products can rectify the occasional wee, but if you accept tenants who don’t look after their animals or your property, they could cause thousands of pounds worth of damage. Ensure your tenancy agreement is watertight.

The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to accepting pets. Use your discretion and consider accepting pets on a case-by-case basis. If you know a tenant is clean and professional, you’ll find it easier to say yes. And for those with leasehold properties, you’ll also need to consult any property management company before agreeing.