Rents for pets being increasingly charged by agents in wake of fees ban

“Pet rents” are being increasingly charged in the wake of the tenancy fees ban.

Tenants’ lobbying group Generation Rent said it is beginning to see pet rents of between £25 and £50 a month.

The Guardian and Sun both said that the charges are an attempt to recoup money lost from the ban.

Georgie Laming, campaigns manager at Generation Rent, said that charging pet rents “is the wrong approach”.

She said: “Tenants are already paying their deposits and are liable for damage at the end of the tenancy.

“This is where landlords can charge for damage from pets – not through hiking up rents.”

The Guardian found one renter looking for a home for his family of four plus cocker spaniel, who said that charging pet rents seems to be standard in certain letting agencies.

Darren Baxter told the paper: “It seems exorbitant given the potential damage a pet can cause. We went to one place where they wanted a reference for the dog. That was ridiculous.”

David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said that the practice is the only legal way for landlords to cover the potential cost of damage by pets.

He said: “This practice is a direct result of capping deposits under the tenant fees ban, as this problem didn’t exist before June 1.

“There’s been a long-standing campaign from the Dogs Trust, called Lets with Pets, which encouraged landlords and letting agents to take a couple of weeks extra deposit to cover the cost of a pet.

“But this practice is now unlawful under the ban and landlords are charging additional rent as it’s the only lawful avenue to mitigate the risk of damage from pets.”

The Lets with Pets campaign is still running, and suggests that tenants with pets do indeed supply a pet reference, either from a previous landlord or a vet.

However, the website does not appear to have been updated for some years and there is no reference to the tenants’ fees ban and the likelihood of pets’ rents being charged.

We did attempt to contact Dogs Trust for comment but were not able to get past its call centre.

http://www.letswithpets.org.uk/find-a-pet-friendly-property/top-ten-tips

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12 Comments

  1. JamesB

    Well generation rent you ask for this for your clients what do you expect ?  One day you will learn attacking landlords sends rents up and supply down each time

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  2. LandlordsandLetting

    Demanding a reference for a pet dog does seem barking mad, we need to paws for thought because who knows where this might lead? Sorry – couldn’t resist it!

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    1. Woodentop

      Sounds purrfect to me for cats.

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  3. Highstreetblues

    The Guardian and The Sun are wrong.  As we all know in the industry, five weeks deposit isn’t enough – especially if the tenant leaves with one month in arrears, with an amount of damage and the property needing a deep clean (to those outside the industry – even with the best systems in place prior to a move out, it still happens). The increase in rent reflects the Landlords exposure to damage by pets because we can no longer add a “pet deposit”. Yes, it’ll increase the monthly fee to a net of about £4.00 on a small amount of tenancies. The tenant fee ban was about politics and envy, and not about helping anyone. It’s a foolish law, pushed by “charity” charlatans and completely avoidable.

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  4. CountryLass

    These increases are not because of the fee section of the fee ban, its because of the deposit cap! I used to charge 6 weeks rent plus £150 with a clause that the carpets had to be cleaned when they left. Preferably professionally but not mandatory.

    The Landlords are trying to get a bit of extra money in reserve in case they have to replace carpets or whatever as 5 weeks rent will possibly cover it if there are no other issues.

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  5. DASH94

    This pet rent is ridiculous, but we’ve been shoved into a corner with this.   I’ve had tenants offering to pay a pet deposit and landlords more than happy to accept one, but if we do that, we’re breaking the rules.

    As for the idea that deposit  money will cover pet damage – clearly they’ve never had to deal with a property that the animal had been allowed to do it’s business indoors.  Not a chance – quite aside from the difficulties of proving smell to the DPS arbitrators.  I’ve had a tenant demand a DNA test on the excrement that we’ve had left in houses.

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  6. Richard Copus

    To throw in the maverick card, we have dogs.  If we had to look for rented accommodation we would be prepared to pay extra because we know virtually all dogs and cats cause damage, even if very little, and we would much rather pay that little bit more than not being able to find somewhere to live and if it encourages some landlords to allow pets rather than not, that increases the supply of accommodation available.

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  7. Woodentop

    Ever had tenant that turns out to have an allergy to pets … there are thousands and the bill to have the property deep cleaned eats up all of the deposit. Lost count of the number of smelly dog properties even with no visible damage, doors and door frames clawed by dogs, eaten and clawed by parrots, carpets pulled by cats, escaped mice, even a snake! Add it all to the mess these pet owning tenant leave and the deposit isn’t anywhere enough if the landlord should need to make a claim.

     

    Generation Rent and Shelter ruined it for the majority of good tenants. I know many agents who refuse pets, period.

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    1. DASH94

      Or my old favourite – house empty for a while, new tenant moves in, turns the heating on and finds that the carpets are alive with fleas that have been have a little cool sleep.   Turns out – carpet was shampooed but not treated.

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  8. revilo

    The law makers need to take a look at this Pet issue and come up with a solution!

     

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  9. bridget

    The problem is, say you wanted to end up with a fund of even about  £300 to cover some damage and carpet cleaning, if you had a one year tenancy you would need to charge a ‘pet rent’ of £25 per month. £50 if it were only a 6 month tenancy. It would be unfair to carry on charging this if the tenancy then carried on as if it were for 3 or 4 years you would be recouping far more than just the £300 you wanted in reserve, which is not fair on the tenant. It also means that the tenant has paid whether or not their pet left any damage. At the end of the fixed period would you then have to put the rent down again, or take away the ‘pet ren’?

    However, the rent added as a pet rent rather than just a deposit would be taxed as a rental income to the landlord so on that basis alone, to be fair to the landlord, it would need to cost the tenant between 20% and 40% more than the landlord actually wanted so that the landlord was still be in the same financial situation as if they had the deposit to draw on.!  Its just a mess and was so much easier when more deposit were just taken. So far my landlords have just said ‘no pets’ and made it even harder for pet owners to be housed. In the current market where there is lots of demand they can afford to be picky and all apart from good working couples/families with no pets, no housing benefit and no bad credit history will find it even harder to rent. Its not fair but unfortunately its reality. Thanks Shelter.!

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  10. PeeBee

    Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – beats an incontinent hamster.

    Or a continent one for that matter, if truth be told.

    The stench has the half-life of Plutonium.

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