An agent has claimed that tenants are putting down their pets because so many landlords are refusing to accept them in their properties.
Marc von Grundherr, director of agent Benham and Reeves, which has 17 branches in London, said his firm has seen a dramatic rise in the number of landlords refusing pets since the Government capped deposits at five weeks’ rent.
He said: “It means landlords have been left with no wiggle room when it comes to the potential damage caused by pets – and as a result 90% of our landlords are now saying no.”
He added that even tenants already living in a rental home with pets are being asked to leave at renewal stage, while others have been forced to have their pets re-homed or even put down.
Von Grundherr said: “We have already heard of multiple tenants who have sadly had to get rid of their pets, and while some have managed to re-home them, there have been a number of occasions where they’ve tragically had to be put down.”
In the most recent case, a tenant was unable to re-home her cat and had it put down so that she could stay in her rental property.
Charging more rent, as many pet-permitting landlords do, is not a solution, he added: “We have a number of clients that charge £1,200 extra in rent for a cat over 12 months and £1,400 extra for a dog, but this can only be detrimental to a tenant’s affordability.”
According to von Grundherr it would make ‘far more sense’ for landlords to charge an extra two weeks’ rent as a deposit, returning some if not all of it to the tenant at the end of the tenancy.
The RSPCA was not able to comment on whether animals are being put down, but said that pets are being abandoned, sometimes in rental properties when the tenant moves on.
David Bowles, the RSPCA’s assistant director of public affairs, said: “The RSPCA encourages landlords to accept tenants with pets in their properties.
“Pets are part of our families and, as well as being wonderful companions, also bring us many benefits for our health and general wellbeing.
“We encourage landlords to allow tenants to take pets into homes as it causes a lot of distress and upset when families aren’t able to take their pet with them, and charities such as the RSPCA are left picking up the pieces.
“Although we don’t always get the full picture when a pet has been dumped, or left behind in a property, the concern is that animals could be abandoned as a result of owners not being allowed to keep them in their rented homes which puts extra pressure on charities like ourselves.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced plans to change model tenancy contracts to make it easier for tenants to keep pets.
Jenrick said only around 7% of landlords currently advertise homes as suitable for pets. But von Grundherr argued that it is the Government’s own deposit cap and ban on tenancy fees that has exacerbated the problem.