Should landlords be worried by the pet changes in the latest Model Tenancy Agreement?

The government has published its latest Model Tenancy Agreement and within it given tenants the right to rent a property with their pet, with the onus on landlords to explain why they think it’s inappropriate for the property.

Although this is a significant deviation from previous government policy, the new model agreement is only recommended to landlords and letting agents when issuing rental contracts. But it marks a significant shift by Ministers.

What do landlords and other players in the housing market think of this mild government U-turn on pets?

Suzy Hershman, mydeposits

“Unfortunately, The Tenant Fees Act scuppered all ways of taking extra money in return for allowing a tenant to keep a pet in the property, other than taking a well-advertised and ‘reasonably placed’ higher rent.

“A tenant is only responsible for leaving the property in the same condition it was in at the start, allowing for reasonable wear and tear.

“If you agree to a tenant with a pet, then ‘reasonable wear and tear’ could extend to minor damage caused by the pet. 

“Whether a deduction is made from a deposit or is a claim for a no-deposit alternative such as the Ome like any claim, it can only succeed for a breach of the tenancy agreement – i.e. damage that is beyond reasonable wear and tear, which is supported by evidence.”

The National Residential Landlords Association

A spokesperson says: “Pets are not always suitable in certain properties such as large dogs in small flats without gardens. There is often more a risk of damage to a property where there is a pet.

“We call on the Government to enable the level at which deposits are set to be more flexible to reflect this greater risk.

“We are also calling for a tenant to either have pet insurance or to pay the landlord for it to be allowed as a requirement for a tenancy where relevant.

“At present payments such as this are banned under the Tenant Fees Act.” 

Terri Dunne, Chief Delivery Officer at Hamilton Fraser

“Allowing responsible tenants to have pets will increase the market reach for the property and attract a wider supply of tenants and possibly longer tenancies.

“But it is generally accepted that no matter how well trained the pet is, there is likely to be damage to the property.

“Under a landlord property insurance policy there are likely to be exclusions or limitations regarding whether a claim can be submitted for any damage caused by a pet.

“As such, you should always check your landlord insurance policy or speak with your insurance broker.”               

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