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Should you accept pets as a landlord?

21st September 2022

Different landlords have different opinions when it comes to pets. However, from a legal perspective, are you sure that you, as a landlord, have the right to choose whether or not to accept tenants with pets? Here at Concentric Sales and Lettings, one of our goals is to provide quality updates on the laws and regulations that matter to you as landlords. We strive to create quality compliance training that will keep you safe and updated. There are hundreds of different pieces of legislation that all impact the private rented sector. Some of these laws carry serious penalties. Our goal is to help you avoid these penalties and ensure that both you and your tenants are kept safe. Now, let’s look at what the law says about pets when it comes to tenancy agreements. 


Do you have the right to make the pet's decision?

Last year, there was a lot of talk within the media that landlords’ rights were being removed and that new laws were coming that stripped them of their right to decide whether or not to accept pets within their properties. Fortunately, this is not the case. Simply put, the answer to the question above is yes, as a landlord can still decide whether or not to allow pets as part of the tenancy agreement. There is no legal requirement for a landlord to permit pets in their properties. The only caveat is that this right is limited if you use the Model Tenancy Agreement, downloadable from the government website. This agreement is often abbreviated to the MTA. Use of the MTA is completely optional and is provided by the government as an aid and template for assured shorthold tenancies. However, the MTA does include a clause that expressly gives the tenants the right to keep pets unless you withdraw that consent. In other words, the agreement prevents landlords from simply issuing a blanket ban on pets. Furthermore, landlords are obligated to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from the tenant and provide a strong reason for doing so. These are the requirements as included in the Model Tenancy Agreement. However, you should remember that if you use any other tenancy agreement, these requirements will not apply. 

Even if you are using the MTA, there may be reasons that explain why you are not able to let to a person with pets. For example, the freeholder may not allow pets within the building. Other reasons could include the size of the property being inappropriate to house the animal or that the tenant has, in the past, failed to properly take care of the pet. 


Should landlords accept pets?

Pets of all different shapes and sizes can cause expensive damage to rental properties. Many landlords have had the terrible experience of discovering one day that they are going to have to pay a hefty repair bill to fix, replace, or clean carpets, furniture, and anything else damaged or destroyed by fluffy friends. Experiences like this, or even hearing about them, have made many landlords fairly averse to having pets in properties that they own. Another reason why landlords may be wary about renting to tenants with pets is that, in 2019, the Tenant Fees Act came into force. One of the major elements of that law was surrounding deposits. As soon as the legislation came into force, a cap was placed on deposits amounting to only five weeks' rent. This means that landlords can no longer ask for a higher deposit should the tenant have pets. For years, this was standard practice for many landlords as a way to cover the potential risks that pets pose to their properties. Nonetheless, like so many other things, that is no longer the case. 

Now, should you accept pets or not? Although pets can pose some potential risks, we do not recommend implementing a blanket ban and becoming a “no-pets” landlord. Permitting pets or even just considering pets can be a great way to increase demand for your properties and successfully close more tenancy agreements. Not all tenants with pets cause additional damage. Our recommendation is to stay flexible and judge each situation individually. 



I hope you’ve found this information useful. As a landlord, it’s important to balance risk while still striving to create as much demand for your properties as possible. That’s why we don’t recommend a blanket ban on pets. Nonetheless, it’s also important to remember that there is no legal requirement for you to accept pets as the Model Tenancy Agreement is optional guidance and is not considered enforceable legislation. Did you know that there are over 170 different pieces of legislation surrounding the private rented sector? With so many different laws, it can be difficult to know for sure how to remain compliant as a landlord. At Concentric Sales and Lettings, our goal is to demystify the legislation surrounding landlords and their properties. That’s why we offer a FREE 2-hour long webinar every quarter where we take a deep dive into these rules and regulations, helping you to stay safe, compliant, and up-to-date.



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