Pets In Your Property:Quick Guide & Screening Questionnaire
With trends moving towards long-term rents, it is inevitable that tenants will want to be able to have pets, but landlords are understandably going to be hesitant to allow them to do so, even though there are clear advantages in allowing pets on the property. It can be a fine line between keeping a tenant happy and ensuring that the property they’re in is not dam-aged, but it can be done. It’s important to set clear expectations at the start of the tenancy when compiling the agreement, and ensuring that cleaning the property at the end of the tenancy is
Laws to be aware of
There are several laws that apply to pet owners in the UK, such as the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the Animal Health and Welfare Act (Scotland) 2006 and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 it is illegal for anyone to own or keep a Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino or Fila Brasilero, unless the dog is registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs. If you believe that a tenant is keeping a dangerous dog at your property, report it to the police or the local authority as soon as possible to allow them to take the appropriate action. Exotic pets, especially potentially dangerous ones such as snakes or spiders, are required to have a license from the local authority under the The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. This regulates how wild animals are kept by individuals. If you are concerned about the welfare of an animal being kept in your property, or you think that a previous tenant may have abandoned their pet, you should contact an animal welfare organisation immediately. In England & Wales you can report abandonment and neglect to the RSPCA, in Scotland to the SSPCA, in Ireland to the ISPCA and in Northern Ireland to the USPCA.
Putting a pet clause in a tenancy agreement
Once you have decided to rent your property to a tenant with a pet, you should include a pet clause in the tenancy agreement. The clause would specify that the pet (identified by a suitable description) would be allowed on the property for the duration of the tenancy and that no further animals would be allowed unless the landlord has given consent .You should also include a clause that covers any pet-related damage and also obliges the tenant to pay for a professional property cleaning service at the end of the tenancy so you can be sure that the property will be back to its normal state before a new tenant moves in. If you’re concerned about the effect of a pet on the property, make sure you take a thorough inventory before the tenant moves in so you know the condition each element was in before the pet arrived.
Screening questions for all pets
As part of your screening process when bringing in a new tenant who has a pet, this questionnaire will help. It’s entirely up to you whether you use the questionnaire, but if you’re concerned about the effect that a pet might have on your property, this might help set your mind at ease.
- What type and breed of pet do you have?
- How long have you owned your pet?
- How old is the pet?
- If applicable, has the pet been spayed or neutered?
- If applicable, is the pet micro chipped? If not, does it wear an identification tag?
- Is the pet insured?
- Is the pet legally allowed to be kept as a pet in the United Kingdom?
- Is the pet registered with a local veterinarian
- If applicable, is the pet registered with the local authority?
- Has there been any damage caused or complaints made about your pet at your current address? If so, please provide details.
- Does your pet have any medical or behavioural problems? If so, what treatment or training are you using?
- Who will care for your pet when you are on holiday or during a medical emergency?
- Can you provide a written reference for your pet from your current landlord? (optional)