At the moment, less than 10% of rental properties are currently advertised as suitable for pets, leaving pet-owners with limited options, and landlords coping with ‘illegal’ pets that their tenants didn’t disclose. So what’s the solution?


How many Brits are pet owners?


The UK is a nation of pet lovers. The pandemic has led to even more people welcoming a pet into their home, with more than 3 million pets estimated to have been purchased during the pandemic. Thankfully, there may be some good news on the horizon for pet owners looking to rent.


What’s the current situation for pets in Scottish rental properties?


Currently, tenants are advised to seek written permission from landlords to have a pet live in the property. Note that landlords can make additional stipulations to protect their property and their neighbours’ and may want to meet the pet, but they normally won’t be able to refuse without evidence of problems unless a no-pets clause was included in the signed tenancy agreement.


However, many tenants are likely to have pets in their property some or all of the time without the landlord knowing or giving permission due to the limited availability of pet-friendly rental options. Assistance animals are automatically allowed if they help accommodate or manage a tenant’s disability or health condition.


The Dogs Trust has produced a handy flat-hunting guide for pet owners.


What are the Scottish government’s plans for tenants with pets?


The Scottish government has been conducting a consultation on their proposals for a New Deal for Tenants which aims to provide more affordable and higher quality accommodation for Scotland’s tenants. As part of these proposals, tenants will gain more rights to personalise their homes, including greater provision for pet-friendly tenancies.


Are pet-friendly properties worth the risk?


Despite government proposals and a clear demand from tenants, many landlords are hesitant to accept pets in their rental properties, citing perceived risks or previous negative experiences. However, there may be untapped opportunities available for landlords who can be convinced to make their rental property pet-friendly. Here at Tay Letting, we’ve analysed some of the main arguments for and against allowing for pet-friendly tenancies.


Pets could cause extensive damage to your property


Most landlords tell us that when considering allowing pets they are worried about the risk of damage, and there’s some evidence to suggest these fears are justified. Common problems are caused by pets scratching and biting furniture when left unsupervised by their owners, which can add up to expensive damage that might exceed the value of the tenancy deposit.


Tenants with pets often stay long-term


Because there are so few pet-friendly properties available, tenants with pets are much more likely to stay put once they find a home they can settle into with their pets. Building a good relationship with pet-owning tenants, and understanding that accidents sometimes happen can lead to long-lasting tenancies and secure rental income.


Pets can disturb neighbours, leading to complaints


Dogs are notoriously disruptive to neighbours, often barking loudly when their owners are out. In a busy block of flats where there are small children, elderly people, and night shift workers, this can lead to unwanted complaints.


Pet-friendly properties attract more prospective tenants


However, in a competitive rental market, casting a wider net can help find an ideal tenant. Because so many people own or want to own pets, landlords can expect to generate more interest in their rental properties when they list them as suitable for pets.


Smells and odour can be difficult to remove, even after the pet leaves


Whether it’s hair, or other accidental stains, pets can bring a whole host of nasty smells with them. What’s worse is that these odours can be extremely long-lasting, getting stuck into the carpet and soft furnishings. Future tenants could be put off if it’s left unresolved, but it could be an expensive fix.


Pets could drive higher rental incomes


Despite the risk of costly damage, most pet owners are responsible tenants. However, landlords may want to consider seeking a higher rental income for pet-friendly properties. With strong demand for pet-friendly properties from tenants, and limits on the maximum deposit charging more to cover the maintenance of pet-friendly properties could be a good option.


Tay Letting’s perspective


We don’t yet know what changes might be implemented in the Scottish Government’s New Deal for Tenants. However, in the meantime, we would urge landlords: don’t immediately rule out being open to pet-owners as tenants. After all, with most things in life where there is a risk, you may find a reward.


For detailed advice tailored to your individual circumstances, please get in touch with Tay Letting’s property experts today.