‘Default Right’ to Own Pets Could Damage Rental Properties

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A ‘default right’ to own pets could lead to property investors losing out through damages, according to renting firm Dlighted.

Labour has announced animal welfare plans, promising to ‘consult landlords on giving tenants a default right to own pets unless there is evidence they are causing a nuisance’. Presently, tenants are able to request permission to own a pet but landlords are able to refuse on the grounds of potential cost of repairs.

Shadow environment minister Sue Hayman MP commented: ‘Recognising that currently for the majority of people under 30, buying a home is sadly less and less of an affordable option, Labour would seek to improve the rights of renters to own pets that do not cause a nuisance.’

However, Dlighted conducted a study that found pets can cause significant damage to properties. The ‘default right’ to own pets could therefore be damaging to landlords. The most damaged items were carpets, at 63 per cent, followed by chairs at 49 per cent and sofas at 43 per cent. Whilst dogs and cats are the most likely pets to cause damage, surprisingly 2 per cent of claims relate to goldfish!

Ajay Jagota of Dlighted said: ‘Britain is a nation of pet-lovers, and these plans are likely to appeal to Britain’s increasing number of renters, who are in turn renting for longer and longer.

Landlords never want to turn away good tenants, and in my experience will only ever refuse to allow pets in their properties for a compelling reason, such as their properties – flats for example – not being suitable for animals, and in some cases not beneficial to their welfare. Property owners traditionally protect themselves against damage with deposits, but in reality deposits provide a false sense of security. If these plans become law landlords need to ask themselves whether those deposits would genuinely protect them against a dog ripping off wallpaper, a cat scratching a sofa to shreds, or even a gerbil chewing through the electrics.’

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