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What to do if your tenant has a pet without permission?

February 9, 2017

You go to visit your tenants to carry out an inspection and make sure that they are happy and comfortable in the property – and you are greeted at the door by their cute new puppy.

You know that the Tenancy Agreement states that they cannot have a pet and they have not sought your permission, so as a landlord what are your options?

As the landlord you have every right to evict them from the property as they are breaching the Terms of the Tenancy Agreement.

However, before issuing a Section 21 Notice, you might want to consider alternative options.

You could lose money should you decide to evict your tenant and cannot find new tenants quickly.

Understandably you may be angry that your tenant has a pet without your permission but it is worth looking at some facts first.

Has the tenant only recently got the pet or have they kept their pet a secret from you?

Do you have a good relationship with them in which they pay their rent on time and look after the property?

You may be adamant of a no pets policy particularly if your property is furnished or you had the property renovated prior to the tenants moving in.

You can identify if your tenant is keeping a pet by carrying out regular property inspections and looking for an accidental damage that the pet might have caused.  These could be:

  • Scratch marks on wood, such as doors and door frames
  • Pulled threads from the carpet
  • Bite/chew marks on furniture
  • Fur in the carpet or on furniture
  • Odour – visible smell of the pet
  • Animal faeces in the garden

If you do find that your tenant is keeping a pet but is cleaning up after it and there are no obvious signs of damage caused by the pet then perhaps you should consider allowing the tenant to keep the pet.

The best thing you can do is to discuss the situation with your tenant.  Advise them that they are in breach of the Tenancy Agreement.

If you decide to allow them to keep the pet then you should consider the following:

  • Adding a pet clause to the Tenancy Agreement if there is not one currently present.  (You could also add a clause that no further pets be kept at the property without your consent).
  • Increase the deposit and register the extra (i.e 2 weeks rent) with the necessary deposit protection service.
  • Request a rent increase to cover wear and tear from the pet
  • Pet Fee in the form of a non-refundable payment to cover any damage the pet may cause

Pets are like children and some tenants struggle to find alternative accommodation and do not want to choose between a home and their pet.  A lot of pet shelters are struggling to re-home abandoned pets and some sadly have to be put down due to lack of resources despite their good health.

Renting your property to pet-owners also opens your property up to a larger market of potential tenants, meaning that you may let your property much quicker.

There are not as many properties that allow pets and pet-owners may be desperate to find somewhere that will allow them to keep their pet, so you can usually ask for a higher rent.

Should a long-term tenant request to keep a pet think twice before automatically saying no as you could be ensuring that the tenant stays in the property longer, therefore saving you from the stress and costs of having to find new tenants.

If you would like any advice on the best ways to write your lease to accommodate pets then contacts us on 01243 788257 or visit our offices in West Street, Chichester.

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