I have found the ideal tenant, but they come with a dog. How do I proceed?

Question

I have found the ideal tenant, but they come with a dog. How do I proceed?

Answer

As the landlord, it is up to you how you wish to proceed. There are some things you may want to consider if you are considering welcoming a tenant with a furry friend…

Tenants with pets tend to stay in a property for longer, so signing up a tenant with their pet may reduce the risk of having to re-let in the near future.

If your tenant has an existing pet and has come from another rented property, try and secure a previous landlord reference before you proceed. In some cases, a previous landlord may even be able to provide a reference for the pet in question – you may feel daft for asking, but now is the time to find out if the angelic looking puppy has a history of bad behaviour!

Take into account the suitability of your property for a pet – a small flat with a patio may be suitable for a Chihuahua but not a German Shepherd! A pet in a property that isn’t a suitable size is potentially going to get up to all sorts of mischief!

If you are worried about damage to your floors, doors, carpets, etc, you could agree a higher deposit to cover potential damages. You cannot have a separate deposit for the pet only, but most pet-owners will accept that they may have to pay a premium. You could also consider increasing the rent if you are uncomfortable hiking the deposit.

Conducting a professional inventory at the start of the tenancy where your tenant can agree and sign confirming the current state of doorways, carpets, garden and furniture would be a good idea. That way, if on check out there is more than fair wear and tear and damage as a direct result of the pet, there are grounds for deducting repair work from the deposit. Most insurers do not cover damage caused by pets.

It would be advisable to put clauses in the tenancy agreement with regards to how you would proceed such as if there are noise complaints from the neighbours, or that no additional pets would be permitted without your consent. You should consider every eventuality if you can, it’s hard to change an agreement once it has been signed.

One of the most important things to ensure is that you and your tenant are upfront and honest about the about the pet (age, condition, size and behaviour) and the expectations of each party. Make sure any conditions are clearly laid out in writing and signed before you agree to proceed with the tenancy.

At Urban.co.uk we can draft a tailored tenancy agreement to include specific clauses such as terms of keeping pets. Please contact the lettings team on 0800 689 9955 to discuss in more detail.

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