Government to Ban Tenants with Pets?

He may look trustworthy, but think of the carpets!

Following a less than successful election for the returning Prime Minister, the build up to the Queen’s Speech seemed to be focussed on identifying what manifesto policies would actually survive the inevitable cull to improve its chances of being passed.

One thing not to be dropped was the Government’s pledge to ban all letting fees to tenants. They even went one step further…

Draft Tenants’ Fees Bill

The banning of letting fees to tenants was an aspect of all the major parties’ manifestos, so it comes as no surprise that the battered Tory government would continue with its implementation.

First announced last year in November’s August Statement by the Chancellor, the policy proposals then underwent a consultation that closed on 2nd June. Annoyingly, the election undermined the usefulness of that consultation as agent and landlord workshops with civil servants running the consultation had to be cancelled.

So now a draft Tenants’ Fees Bill has been announced that will implement the policy to ban landlords and agents from requiring tenants to make any payments as a condition of their tenancy, with the exception of rent, a security deposit, a holding deposit and tenant default fees.

You can read our briefing on the Queen’s Speech here.

No Dogs Allowed

In the initial consultation on the fees ban the Government announced their intention to look at putting a cap on security deposits. While we argued that it was unnecessary, the Government has not listened. Data from our AST statistics show that the average deposit (of those taking a deposit) is 4.92 weeks’ rent.

The details of the draft Tenants’ Fees Bill that were released at the Queen’s Speech also included: a cap of one month’s rent for security deposits.

While not the intention, the Government’s plans for imposing this one-month cap on security deposits will reduce landlords’ willingness to accept pets by removing their flexibility to take a higher deposit to cover for pet damage.

Previous research from the NLA showed that almost half (55%) were unwilling to allow pets, with 41% of those citing the reason as potential property damage.

The Dogs Trust’s Lets with Pets scheme advises landlords to either take a higher deposit or include a “professional cleaning on move-out” clause in the tenancy agreement in order to mitigate the financial risk of property damage.

However, the Government’s plans at present could very well outlaw these practices. The end result? Even fewer landlords willing to let to tenants with pets.

While the full details of what will be included are missing, as a draft Bill it will take longer to go through the legislative process and so receive extra scrutiny and provide more opportunities to be amended.

And we’ll be seeking to do just that.



12 thoughts on “Government to Ban Tenants with Pets?

  1. An unintended consequence of the proposed legislation and it will force landlords to increase the rents for tenants with pets. This is unfair on the many tenants who have well behaved pets but landlords will not take the risk. I have always welcomed pets and I have never had to withhold deposit because of mess or damages but I need to know that I have a safety net. I’m really cross that this will make me rethink my business model in a nation of pet lovers.

  2. If a landlord lets to a tenant with a pet, or gives an existing tenant permission to have a pet, the amount of “fair” wear and tear us adjusted correspondingly. Pets cause smells and mess, they are (from time to time) infested with parasites and may cause subsequent tenants to have allergic reactions. There’s an argument that some minor damage is also “fair wear and tear” as it’s an inevitable result of keeping a cat for example.

    So it’s likely that any increased deposit is pointless. A clause allowing for additional cleaning or fumigation is a better option. Increasing the rent to allow for the additional costs is even better.

  3. can’t agree John-Paul, I have accepted pets in my single lets for years and I have never had an issue. The problem is that a clause to cover cleaning cannot be enforced if the landlord is not holding enough deposit to cover it and the tenant ignores it at the end of the tenancy. A tenant can simply withhold the last months rent and there is nothing left to cover that or anything else. Sadly many landlords will not take the risk and that means – No pets or increased rent – neither is good for tenants

  4. This article is industry propaganda I am afraid. I used to be in agency, and tenants were always more than willing to pay extra rent to have their pet in the property. Yes, rent.

    What is the point of extra deposit anyway? Normal deposit of say £700. Then you get an applicant with a pet. You insist on a deposit of £1000, which the tenant puts up. The pet does £400 worth of damage, the tenant refuses to agree to a deduction.

    QUESTION: In what fantasy land has that extra deposit protected you? Pet damage will almost certainly be covered by the normal deposit. So you are really worried that also they are a terrible tenant that will do other damage or leave with rent arrears.

    COMMENT: Enjoy all the hassle of gathering your evidence and going to arbitration, along with the risk that you may have made a procedural error at some point since the start of the tenancy, and the risk the arbitrator may just stupid.

    OR, desperate tenant agrees to an extra £25 per month rent and in one year you have a guaranteed £300 for the extra wear and tear regardless of damage.

    That foolish industry makes me laugh.

  5. There is a perfectly good process if a tenant decides to dispute a deduction. I am not an Ex – landlord, but a current one and I have not had an issue getting valid deductions from deposits. Having said that, if this new proposal does come in, I will be charging an increased rent for pets as its the only way around the issue. Some will pay, some will go elsewhere…

  6. I have always refused to allow tenants to have pets in my properties they know this when they see the property advertised and its in the tenancy agreement. They cause damage and disruption in the best cases and the level of extra work that has to go into removing signs and odours of animal occupancy that is necessary before prospective tenants can view a property that has had animals living in it is prohibitively expensive and time consuming.

    The idea that governments (successive governments will not reverse this policy) are going to indirectly but effectively reduce the number of pets in the country is something that I wholly endorse. I see no need for the keeping of any non-working animals other than those that are too young or those that have ‘retired’.

    I do not however agree with the capping of deposits. Landlords that might be willing to take the risk of letting to people with no or poor credit rating will be less likely to do so if they can not offset their risk with larger deposits.

  7. False headline and scaremongering. The government are not banning pets. They are attempting to make life as a tenant fairer. Fees are an unfair way of making money out of people who are already struggling. My rent represents 75% of my income. I can’t move because I can’t afford the fees. Nor can I find another deposit. Stating the government are to ban pets will unnecessarily upset many tenants.

  8. I am a landlord. And have been for over 20 years. My properties are all ‘No Pet Properties’. Tenants know this from the start. It’s listed in the advert, They are told again when they look around. And again when they go through the tenancy agreement.
    But that didn’t stop a previous tenant getting a cat. Which they hid from me when ever I collected the rent (weekly).
    When they left. Not everyone left. They and their cats. Yes. Cat’s’ several of them left. But they’re flees didn’t leave at the same time. I initially withheld their deposit for other damage the humans caused. But then ended up with a large, very large bill to irradiate the property of the flees. (Which of course. I was unaware were even present. Until pest control confirmed it)
    But also, the loss of my next tenant. As he was so inconvienced by the pest control man having to return several times to spray pesticides to break the life cycle of the flees that he left. Owing rent and giving no notice.
    So, yes. Pets do cost landlords money. And I feel we are penalised for trying to provide tenants with a good quality. Clean. Safe. Property.
    Sorry for the rant. But it does frustrate me when the landlord is always made out to be the bad one. All I did was try to give someone a home.
    I am a good person. Who prides herself on her properties. And being a reputable landlord. But the government’s plans will mean I will think twice before renting my properties out. Which will surely only add to the housing crisis.

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