Landlords shouldn’t fear tenants owning pets - David Alexander

A dog is for life not just for Christmas is the old adage. But for some people living in the private rented sector this is not an option. There are tenants in Scotland who would like to be given a pet this festive season, but they can’t because it is not in their tenancy agreement. While Scotland has a fairer system than in England and tenants are much more likely to be allowed to own a pet in the private rented sector not all landlords agree, and tenants need to have a written agreement to allow pets.

However, I believe that most landlords should agree to their tenants having pets because it is the right and proper thing to do. All of us involved in the sector need to remember that we are renting someone a home not simply a property and for many people a major component of having their own home means having a pet.

For landlords who may be wary of letting tenants keep pets I would urge them to reconsider. While everyone in the private rented sector has heard horror stories of properties damaged by pets with furniture and carpets suffering at the claws and teeth of a variety of pets for the majority of people this is simply not the case.

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The truth is that most tenants are sensible and understand the need to look after their pets properly and ensure that they don’t let them damage the property they live in. The positive aspect is that the more that tenants feel a property is their home the more likely they are to treat it as their own and behave responsibly and sensibly.

DJ Alexander Chief Executive David AlexanderDJ Alexander Chief Executive David Alexander
DJ Alexander Chief Executive David Alexander

Ensuring tenants feel in control of their lives, of their homes, and are able to live the way they want is an essential part of keeping them happy and building a strong personal relationship with them. Those landlords who create homes rather than simply letting units will have happier tenants which results in a much easier life for all concerned.

In the last few years pet ownership has become much more important for many people and particularly for those who now work from home. Having the company of a cat or dog (or budgie or hamster) when you are working from home all day can be a boost to an individuals’ mental health and wellbeing. Isolation was one of the key issues which arose from the pandemic, and we need to ensure that we can do all we can to facilitate the best and most conducive life for all our tenants.

Being amenable to pet ownership seems to be a pretty small price to pay to have a happy tenant. Nervous landlords should know that they are allowed to apply an insurance deposit on top of the security deposit to cover any potential damage which may happen to the property.

It should also be noted that a happy and contented tenant is also more likely to stay longer. Most landlords understand that constantly changing tenants is more costly, time consuming, and less rewarding than having the same happy tenants staying for year after year. Therefore the more content your tenant is the more likely they will stay longer in an area they appreciate in a property they like and with a pet that they adore.

For those landlords who have previously preferred not to allow pets in their properties I would urge them to reconsider. Their New Year resolution should be to let tenants have a pet if they wish one in the knowledge that they will have gone some way to create a better home environment for their tenants.

David Alexander is CEO of DJ Alexander Scotland Ltd



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