Landlord suggests novel way to deal with pets – but it is legal?

A tenant has posted details of a tenancy contract which offers a potentially simple solution to the thorny issue of whether to accept pets – namely, a sliding scale of charges.

On Reddit, he shared one landlord’s way to cover costs, depending on the animal: “Where the landlord has approved the placement of pets, the following fees will apply.

“The additional value will be added to the monthly rental account. £10 pcm for pets caged in house eg. hamsters, £10 pcm for pets that will be kept externally to house in garden eg. guinea pigs, £25 pcm for pets that will be free-roaming in the house eg. cats, dogs, house rabbits, snakes, lizards.”

Roaming snakes

Most posters thought it was amusing to have snakes roaming free, but the concept could be an alternative to the one proposed by pet campaigners; they are seeking an amendment to the Tenant Fees Act, so landlords can either take additional deposits off tenants seeking to rent with pets or require tenants to take out extra insurance.

While PRS explains that a pet ‘deposit’ is not allowed, a landlord can negotiate an increased rent for allowing a pet in the property but must make sure this fee is advertised in brochures, and is transparent, before viewing.

Not prohibited

Head of redress Sean Hooker says landlords can set whatever rent they like, and that using pets as a reason to charge more wouldn’t be prohibited.

But he adds: “If someone said they were going to charge more because a tenant had children there would be uproar.”

There’s still the issue of paying back the deposit if the pet causes damage – and whether a higher rent would have an impact on this.

Adds Hooker: “Landlords might say that tenants have to hand the property back in the same state they acquired it, so could tell them they are going to charge a higher rent because of undertaking a higher standard of cleaning to ensure the tenant does the same when they leave.”

Read the Reddit string.

Read more about renting to tenants with pets.

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