Pets are the heart of the home. A pet cat for your tenants could make them feel happier and more likely to stay in your property for longer, which is good news for you as a landlord. It is common for landlords to have a blanket ‘no pets’ policy while renting out their home. But, with the increasing number of people renting a property, this means that landlords are missing out on this huge group of possible tenants that are responsible and would treat the property as a valued home, even with a pet. However, you want to make sure that your property is still being well looked after, here are some easy steps for keeping you, the landlord and your tenant happy while allowing pets in the property:
- The most obvious and easy one, ask your potential tenant about their pet.
Responsible pet owners would be more than happy to provide their potential landlord with some information about their pet. You could ask them for veterinary records so that you can make sure that the pet has been neutered, vaccinated and protected against fleas and other parasites. It is also important to ask the owner to provide information on the pet’s character. How does the pet likes to spend its time? How does the pet interact with other pets and people? Does the pet use a litter tray? Also, if the tenant has rented a property before, it would be helpful to you if you could ask them to provide a reference from a previous landlord for their pet. This way, you can see from their previous landlord if the pet had been destructive with their property and then you can make your decision to allow pets into your property tenant by tenant.
- Advertising your property.
When asking a lettings agent to advertise your property, or if you are advertising it yourself, advertise your property as “pets considered” and in the property, description add a clause detailing that you will allow pets at the landlord discretion. This puts you, as the landlord, in control of ensuring that your new tenant is a responsible pet owner. It also allows you, while saying that you will consider pets, to say no to any tenant with a pet that you think would be destructive to your property. But as said in the point above, it is always important to get more information about the pet to make a fair decision.
- In your tenancy agreement, add a clause for a responsible and reasonable pet.
This would require pets to be neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. It would also involve the owner needing to regularly treat the pet for fleas and worms to make sure that your property is safe from parasites. As well as put a limit on the number of animals allowed to be kept in the property, which is generally set at two. Many pet owners like to have more than one pet to keep the other one company when they are out. Making sure that the pet has company can also be useful to you as a landlord as it would minimise the risk of the pet getting bored and taking their boredom out on carpets and furnishings. 75% of private landlords who have had a tenant with a cat have not experienced any problems, especially when they have gone through these guidelines.
The Government is having a crackdown on what they call “unfair and abusive practices within the leasehold system”. Research has found that 31.9% of all properties sold in the UK in 2017 were leasehold showing an increase of more than 5% on 2016.
Leasehold properties benefit from Residents Associations who work together with a managing agent to make their estate a better, safer and happier place to live.
Having the right managing agent who works with the residents to ensure everything is running properly and any faults are dealt with promptly and effectively, as well as ensuring the estate is always clean and well maintained.
Times have changed and many buyers now appreciate not having to worry about maintaining their building or the surrounding area so that they can get on with their busy lives and leave the mundane though necessary tasks to the managing agent.
The Labour party wants to give tenants a default right to keep pets in their rented home.
The 2015 Consumer Rights Act says Landlords can only refuse permission if it is reasonable to do so, these reasons being the animal’s size, impact on future rental demand and possible damage.
In an about turn in current regulations landlords would have to prove the pet will be a nuisance before keeping it can be refused. This would, therefore, stop landlords being able to advertise properties with a no pet policy.
Astonishingly, the plans also include giving low income earners help with vet bills!
Apparently, the Labour believes the five million households who are forced to rent shouldn’t be denied the joy of keeping a pet.
The Party is looking to consult with landlords to see if they can give tenants the default right to keep a pet in their home, and want to design policies for all not only those fortunate enough to buy their own home.
Fifty percent of the landlords questioned by the NLA, said they are reluctant to allow renters to keep pets due to a perceived added risk of damage to the property, and the increased costs of repair at the end of a tenancy.
The NLA does support schemes that encourage landlords to allow pet owners into their homes such as the Dogs Trust “Lets with Pets”. If landlords refuse a tenant with pets they will have to justify their decision.
Properties without gardens would be an example of those that would not be suitable for keeping some animals as it would not be beneficial to the animal’s welfare and some leasehold property covenants preclude keeping pets in the building.
We will keep you informed on how the Labour Party progresses with this idea.
Now is the time to review any assets subject to mortgages or secured loans, as rates are at their lowest for a long time for single property owners or those who own a portfolio.
The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee confirmed its forecasts for interest rate rise were now sooner than predicted in November last year, so industry experts are warning of significant upward interest rate changes for mortgage rates in the next two to three weeks.
It is predicted that the cost of funding to lenders will be affected by the swap rates as it filters through mortgage pricing.
Nationwide and Halifax have already repriced their mortgage rates.
Landlords need to make sure they are ready for the imminent changes.
On 1 November 2017 the Government introduced the Draft Tenant Fees Bill to parliament. The Government have proposed to ban letting agent fees for landlords in England. This means lettings agents and landlords will only be able to charge a refundable holding deposit of no more than a week’s rent. The holding deposit only becomes non-refundable if the tenant, withdraws from the rental property or defaults through referencing, fails a right to rent check or provides misleading information.
As from the 1st April 2018 there will be a new requirement for any properties that are currently rented to have a minimum energy performance rating of E. The regulations will come into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies coming into place from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which fall below the minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption such as, listed buildings. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches.
Where applicable most landlords this will mean that they will no longer be able to rent out a property with a rating of F or G after April 1st 2018. As such landlords with properties in this EPC bracket should begin preparing now for April 1st.
This is a new regulation which comes into place on the 25th May 2018 and will replace the existing Data Protection Act. The new act is an update and a new way of handling individual personal data.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to any organisation that handles personal date across the EU. Even though the UK is leaving the EU we are to comply with the regulation until such time. The new regulation now means controls are to be put in place for how data is collected and used.
What does this mean for PJJS?
Data that is collected and shared between the company must be on the consent given by the client, data is described as information that can identify an individual person. The new guidelines outline the client needs a clear understanding of where and who will have access to their details at all times. In due course all of our clients will be sent a request outlining specifically how their data will be shared the client and with whom. Further updates will be given as and when they become clear.