Tenants with pets often struggle to find a home to rent as landlords are reluctant to accept animals in a property. Dog ownership has risen hugely in recent years, which seems to pose an issue for many landlords due to the perception of major damage that may be caused during a tenancy.
According to members of the National Association of Inventory Professionals well trained dogs (and owners) cause the least problems in a rental property. Cats however are high on the list of offenders, especially if there is no cat flap available - look out for claw marks and fluffing on stair carpet and threadbare patches in doorways, claw scratches to door and window frames and on any other hard surface. Soft furnishings are also fair game for a cat – and the major hidden problem will be the presence of cat fleas. Flea eggs can live for several weeks in carpet edges and other crevices so a landlord may only realise there is a problem when the next tenants move in!
Any bored pet that is left alone all day in a property is likely to cause damage. This is the owner’s fault and rightly they will have to pay for any damage at the end of a tenancy. Even small pets such as mice, rats, birds, house rabbits and hamsters can cause damage if not properly supervised when let out of their cages. Wires and furniture can be chewed and carpets stained. One recent major incident involved a pet rat chewing through electrical cable with disastrous results, an electrical fire caused major damage making the property uninhabitable.
NAIP members have reported other odd pets found during periodic inspections of a rented property, these include a pot-bellied pig, a Shetland pony living in a kitchen, an iguana in a spare bedroom and a free-range parrot.
There are a few things that a landlord can do to protect their property as they cannot lawfully refuse to take a tenant with a pet without valid reasons.
An additional pet clause within the Tenancy Agreement will help cover cleaning and damage issues, some landlords and agents will take an additional ‘fumigation fee’ at the start of a tenancy involving cats to enable them to fumigate at the end of a tenancy.
Regularly visiting the property (periodic inspections) are a vital part of renting with pets so that you can check for damage on both the inside and the outside.
Keep An Eye Out For:
Pet Hair/Bird Feathers – check under the sofa cushions (as tenants often forget to vacuum here); linings of curtains, pelmets, curtain tops
Pet stains – check under mats, tables, beds
Scratches – check furniture, doors and frames, kitchen cupboards for claw scratches
Carpets – Look out for thread pulls and fluffing on carpets and rugs – especially in doorways and stair treads.
Cables – check for damage from chewing – a favourite of pet rabbits and hamsters.
Patches on the lawn – small yellowing or bare areas of grass are usually caused by the urine of a cat or dog (but can also be caused by a foxes)