Renting with pets survey reveals extent of damage costs to landlords

A recent online survey showed that pet damage is extremely common in properties where landlords rent to tenants with pets and the costs are difficult to recoup. With the demand for pet-friendly homes continuing to increase, the UK Government must now understand the costs for landlords and implement rules that support the sector.

The survey and research were undertaken as a joint project between lettings industry trade bodies Propertymark and the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) along with landlord website, LandlordZone and East Midlands-based pets charity AdvoCATS. 

The organisations say that the information presented clearly shows that the UK Government has limited the protection of landlords and therefore access to housing for those with pets and are calling on Eddie Hughes, the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) to prioritise amendments to the Tenant Fees Act 2019 to make renting with pets easier for landlords, tenants and letting agents.

The data from this research backs up what Propertymark and others have been warning for some time, that the unintended consequences of the Tenant Fees Act have reduced the appetite for many landlords to take on the greater risk of damage.

With the demand for pet friendly homes continuing to increase, the UK Government must now understand the costs involved for landlords and implement rules that support the sector to take on greater risk in order to support more people to rent with pets.

Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark

With many landlords unable to recover damage caused by pets, it is no surprise that landlords generally prefer to let to tenants without pets. Particularly those with smaller portfolios who are not able to absorb the losses caused by damage.

If the UK Government is to increase the supply of pet-friendly homes then it is vital that landlords and agents have confidence they can recover the cost of repairs. Amending the Tenant Fees Act to permit pet insurance or pet deposits would provide this confidence and give tenants with pets more options in the private rented sector.

James Wood Policy Manager | NRLA
Over three quarters of tenants either have or aspire to own a pet, and this must be reflected in the number of pet friendly rentals on offer. Our survey results show that the majority of landlords and lettings agencies are in favour of a simple legislative change which will dramatically increase the number of landlords willing to accept pets, once they know they can protect themselves in the event of any pet damage, and we urge the Government to act on this knowledge.
Jen Berezai Co-Founder | AdvoCATS
Tenant Fees Act

Add to the List of Permitted Payments

The Heads for Tails! report and campaign of the same name is seeking an addition to the List of Permitted Payments within the Tenant Fees Act, to give a landlord the option 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 over 40 organisations and more than 40 MPs and Peers: advocatseastmids.org.uk/westminister

The white paper A fairer private rented sector, recently released by the UK Government, has committed to giving tenants ‘the right to request a pet in their property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse’.

The UK Government has also confirmed it will amend the Tenant Fees Act so landlords can request that their tenants buy pet insurance. The campaign continues to ensure these commitments are met in the resulting legislation and that pet insurance is designed to meet the needs of landlords, agents, tenants, and pets.

Vast majority of landlords and agents have incurred damage from pets

85.3 per cent of landlords and agents have incurred damage to their property by pets. This is closely followed by 84.7 per cent having incurred damage by adults and 54.9 per cent incurring damage by children. Whilst landlords have experienced damage from pets, adults and children, pets mainly cause the extent of the damage. 

Download the full report