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Should tenants be allowed to keep pets?

By Maurice Shasha  //  Fri 11th January 2019
Surveys show that around 70% of landlords don’t allow pets. Reasons cited include concern about damage, smells and noise, as well as a belief that some properties just aren’t suitable.
Feline charity Cats Protection has launched a campaign to encourage more landlords to allow pets in their properties.

Surveys show that around 70% of landlords don’t allow pets. Reasons cited include concern about damage, smells and noise, as well as a belief that some properties just aren’t suitable. In addition, clauses disallowing pets are often written into tenancy agreements as a default.

The charity hopes to dispel some of these assumptions and is offering advice and guidance to landlords, who might be open to allowing cats. It has also dedicated an area of its website to what it calls ‘purr-fect landlords’.

With the increase in people renting their homes, Cats Protection believes that a fifth of the animals brought to its rehoming centres are put up for adoption because of clauses in tenancy agreements.

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy and Government Relations, said: “More and more people are renting their homes either by choice or necessity, yet very few rented properties accept cats. This means tenants are missing out on being able to own a cat, while landlords may be losing out on attracting responsible and settled tenants.”
Campaigners also believe that pets play an important role in mental well-being, helping to combat loneliness and ease anxiety. And for landlords, being flexible about pet ownership is seen as a good way of retaining reliable tenants.

According to Jacqui Cuff, there are conditions, which landlords can put in place to protect their property. “Becoming a cat-friendly landlord means advertising properties as ‘pets considered’ which ensures landlords stay in control and can make a decision once they’ve met their potential tenant.

“Our downloadable example cat clauses [should that be claws-es?] can then be simply added to existing tenancy agreements. They include tenancy conditions to require cats to be neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped. This helps to ensure that cats are in the best of health and unlikely to cause any issues.

“We’re also offering advice to help tenants speak to their landlords to ask for permission to own a cat. Landlords are often willing to be flexible, especially as tenants with pets are likely to stay for longer.”

One suggestion to reassure landlords is to ask for a larger deposit from pet owners to cover any possible damage. This idea was welcomed in a Metro poll, however changes to the rules on letting fees, which become law in the spring, may mean this is not viable.

Read more about the story on the property 118 website.

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