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If you’re a first-time landlord, you’ll probably have been advised not to accept pets in your property. Most landlords will avoid taking tenants with pets at all costs, but are they missing out on an opportunity?

There are some understandable reasons behind some landlords’ reluctance to accept a pet, of course – even the most well-behaved pets can have their accidents and irresponsible owners can sometimes allow their pets to cause unnecessary damage.

However, the CEO of DogFriendly, Steve Bennet, believes that landlords will be pleasantly surprised if they let their property to a pet owner, stating that “accommodation suppliers who welcome dogs tell us that dog owners usually take more care of their rooms and their properties than non-dog owners”.

In addition, given that the latest data suggests that 45% of British residents own a pet of some description, landlords who refuse to allow pets are significantly reducing the number of potential tenants who could rent their property.

For many pet owners, especially those with dogs, landlords’ refusal to accept pets severely restricts their property search. Steve Bennet says that his company DogFriendly is often contacted by dog owners asking for help to find a suitable property, because so few will accept them. A landlord who is open-minded could benefit from offering their property to these dog owners, who make up almost a third of the UK’s pet-owning population. In addition, as pet owners are usually aware that they have fewer options when renting, once they find a property to call home they are more likely to stay there for a longer period of time - meaning you're likely to experience fewer void periods.

If this was not enough, landlords who are open to accepting a pet may be able to achieve higher rents than those who are not. A recent study conducted by LSL’s Corporate Client Department, which polled over 3,200 18-35 year-old renters on this subject, asked if tenants would be prepared to pay extra to be allowed to have a pet in their home, and if so, how much they would pay.

31% of those surveyed said that they were willing to pay more for their pet, and would offer an average of £25.55 extra per month on average for the privilege. For landlords, this could mean an additional £300 extra rent every year, which should cover the possible damage caused by a well-behaved pet.

As a result, landlords who are willing to be flexible about allowing pets not only enable their property to appeal to a wider audience, they could also achieve higher rents.

Attitudes are changing towards pets. One area in which this approach has proven popular is the build-to-rent sector, as many developers have realised the value in offering pet-friendly accommodation. In our patch, the two major build-to-rent projects at Greenford Quay and Charter Place will both accept pets subject to an additional monthly charge.

However, most buy-to-let landlords still haven’t followed suit despite the obvious advantages.

Being open-minded about accepting pets like these developers offers landlords the chance to market their properties to a larger proportion of the market and achieve higher rents, and since pets often don’t deserve their reputation for causing damage, we’d always recommend accepting a pet if you get the right offer.

If you’d like any further advice on letting your property you can contact our lettings team here.

 

This is part of our series of advice for landlords. You can read the other articles here: How to become a buy-to-let landlord - Should I furnish my property? -
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