Do Landlords Really Have to Fear Tenants with Pets?

************* PRESS RELEASE************

Landlords to be surveyed on damage to property

THOUSANDS of UK landlords and lettings agencies are to be targeted during April in order to establish the true cost of damages to rental accommodation by tenants.

The “What’s the damage?” online survey is a joint project between lettings industry trade bodies National Residential Landlords Association (NLRA) and Propertymark, along with the UK’s leading landlord website LandlordZone and East Midlands-based pets charity AdvoCATS.

The purpose of the research is to provide accurate data of the type of damage caused in rental accommodation by adults, children and pets, as well as the cost to landlords and method of recovery. The resulting information will be presented to Eddie Hughes, the Minister for Rough Sleeping & Housing, at the Department for Levelling Up Housing & Communities (DLUHC) by AdvoCATS later this Spring, to further enhance their Heads for Tails’ report and proposals to amend the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and making renting with pets easier for both parties, thus avoiding the devastating impact of “no pets” clauses.

The ongoing campaign is calling for a landlord to be allowed to either request a financially capped pet deposit, or stipulate that pet damage insurance must be held by any tenant wanting to keep a pet or pets, and is currently backed by 35+ organisations and 40+ MPs/Peers. NRLA’s former Deputy Director of Policy & Research, the late and much respected John Stewart, was a significant early contributor to and exponent of the report, the full version of which can be read here: https://www.advocatseastmids.org.uk/westminister/

AdvoCATS co-founder Jennifer Berezai said: “We know that fear and cost of pet damage is one of the main barriers to landlords accepting pets, and this survey will give a better understanding of the reality of those fears, and how they compare to other causes and costs of damage. These questions haven’t been asked before, and the answers will give us a unique insight into landlords’ experiences.”

Chris Norris, Policy Director for the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “We understand the importance that pets have for many renters, especially those wanting companionship. However, the system at present does not allow the true heightened risk of pets to be reflected in deposits. We encourage landlords to complete this survey as we work to ensure there is sufficient confidence to rent to tenants with pets.”

Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark commented: “Many renters are pet owners, but due to the Tenants Fees Act which caps security deposits, letting agents and their landlords are no longer able to fully mitigate the additional risks associated when letting their property to tenants with pets.

“We hope that the responses collected from this survey will strengthen our calls for changes to current rules and that the UK Government will explore options that incentivise landlords to rent to more people with pets.”

AdvoCATS was set up in 2018 to offer a free support and advice service to both landlords and tenants, and assist pet owners who experience difficulty finding rental accommodation. Their mission statement: Campaign Action Teach Support covers their grass roots work and more recently, the Heads for Tails! campaign.

•View the survey here until the end of April: https://form.jotform.com/220585394928367

Caption: The “What’s the damage?” survey will provide accurate data about the kind of damage to rental property that landlords encounter.

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