Rental Home Pet Ban Confusion Predicted

AFS Team·20 February 2020·4 min read
Rental Home Pet Ban Confusion Predicted

Rental Home Pet Ban Confusion Predicted

The government's plan to remove restrictions on pets in rental properties could lead to confusion between landlords, letting agents and tenants, one inventory service provider says.

According to No Letting Go, the move will lead to an increasing number of disputes and a higher risk of property damage.

The plan to ban pet restrictions on 'well-behaved pets' was unveiled by the government in January to help ensure that more landlords cater for the needs of responsible pet owners.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says just 7% of homes in the rental sector are being advertised for tenants who have pets.

This is despite the fact there is a growing demand from tenants with pets and last year a Landbay study found that one in seven tenants said having a pet was an important requirement for their new home.

‘Demand is rising for pet friendly tenancies’

The founder of No Letting Go, Nick Lyons, said: "With tenants renting for longer and viewing their rental properties increasingly as homes, it's not surprising that demand is rising for pet friendly tenancies.

"The fact that only a small number of landlords will currently accept a pet shows it can be risky. Landlords who accept pets can enjoy higher demand and potentially higher rents, but they should approach pet acceptance with caution and understand the pros and cons before committing."

He added that for those landlords who follow the government's model tenancy, then there could be ‘grey areas’ around the types of pet they will have to accept and also what constitutes a 'well-behaved pet'.

Mr Lyons said: "Animal behaviour is subjective, so it is easy to envisage a problem arising should a tenant keep a pet and things do not go according to plan."

He says that if a tenant can argue that their pet is well-behaved, then it makes it more difficult for a landlord to make a deduction successfully from their security deposit to repair damage that has been caused.

Sharp drop in portfolio landlord numbers

Meanwhile, an analysis of HMRC data has revealed that the number of BTL landlords who have between five and nine rental homes dropped last year to 157,000.

According to accountants Moore, the number of landlords in the year before was 159,000.

The firm says that cuts to tax relief and stamp duty increases brought in since 2015, have led to smaller landlords leaving the buy to let sector.

A partner at the firm, Jonathan Green, said: "For some landlords, the latest tax relief cuts will be the final straw and push them from the market."

He added: "Buy to let landlords with a small portfolio make-up a big part of the rental sector and if their numbers continue falling, it may create a supply deficit and lead to higher rents in some areas."