As a dog owner, if you live in rented accommodation you may well have experienced problems in finding an appropriate property where the landlord is happy to accommodate pets. While it’s never a good idea to conceal the fact that you have a dog from a new landlord, with the prospect of living in a house unsuitable for your dog, having to part with your four legged friend or facing up to the fact that you could be without accommodation, it’s understandable why some people do so. However, with the advent of new insurance for landlords letting to pet owners, perhaps the shortage of dog friendly accommodation could in time be but a memory.
Insurance to cover pet owners
Often landlords are reluctant to let to tenants with pets fearing that their furniture, carpets and woodwork will be damaged and that it will be difficult to remove traces of the animals even once they have left the property. However, 88% of landlords in a poll undertaken by the Dogs Trust would consider renting their homes to pet owners if appropriate cover was available against potential damage that might be caused. This is now possible thanks to a new insurance product offered by Endsleigh. This policy not only covers pet related damage, but also insures contents, potential unoccupancy and against owner liability.
Seeking responsible dog owners
Having been instrumental in bringing about the availability of landlord pet insurance, the Dogs Trust are also encouraging those renting out their properties to use the checklist available on their Lets with Pets website to identify responsible pet owners, as these same people also make responsible tenants. So don’t be surprised when looking for your next rental property if you are asked questions relating to your dog’s health care, exercise routines, toilet training and what arrangements you make when you leave your dog at home by itself. You will more than likely also have to provide a reference from your current landlord regarding your dog, though if you are new to renting, your dog’s vet can provide a suitable alternative. It also wouldn’t be unusual for your prospective landlord to ask to meet your dog so that they can see for themselves whether they would be happy for them to live in their property.
The small print
All being well and you and your dog are accepted as tenants, be sure to read the clause relating to pet ownership in the tenancy agreement so that you are fully aware of your obligations. It is also important to be clear about the deposit – which may well be higher if the landlord doesn’t have specific insurance for pet owners – and whether there is a non-refundable cleaning charge to cover the cost of professional cleaning of carpets, curtains and soft furniture after leaving the property.
As a responsible dog owner you recognise that you need to ensure that your dog is well exercised, behaves appropriately within the home, that you keep up to date with vaccinations and preventative measures against fleas and worms and always clean up after them. However, be sure that your landlord also takes their responsibilities seriously, as inviting pet owners to live in their properties requires them to take some additional measures themselves. If you notice that the boundary fence for instance has come into disrepair or that the gate does not close properly, both can pose a hazard to your dog, increasing the likelihood they escape, so your landlord has a duty to address these issues. Equally, if they have not provided covers for soft furnishings, ask whether they can do so; it shows you are responsible, seeking to protect their contents. Similarly, the vacuum they provide you with should be fit for the purpose of regular cleaning to take up the dog hair from carpets, so any issues with the appliance should be raised with your landlord. When both dog owners and landlords keep to their responsibilities, renting to pet owners works well for both parties.
Blog kindly added by ProBuyToLet (One of the UK’s leading sources of news and information for landlords and buy to let property investors)