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That is perhaps a little unfair, in that the Labour party is not recommending that all tenants should own dogs, but they certainly want to make it easier for those that do.
Labour want to make it a default position, that tenants can share their property with one, or even more, dogs. Labour are in vote-catching mode, should Mrs May feel forced to call a General Election this year. (She says she won’t, but who can tell in politics?) What will not surprise any private sector landlord is that yet again the private landlord is the one that will bear the brunt of the well-meaning, vote-catching pronouncements of politicians.
Whilst most landlords are amenable to having pets in the property, they do expect that they will be asked permission and perhaps given the opportunity to investigate the breed of dog and how the tenant is likely to allow it to behave. If keeping pets became the de-fault position for tenants, they would not have to ask permission, the decision would be theirs alone.
Do private sector landlords attempt to restrict the keeping of pets in their properties because they are power hungry and want to show they are in charge? Perhaps in some cases, but generally landlords are happy to accommodate tenants, but they will have other considerations which play a part in their attitude to dogs.
People love dogs. They can be considered part of the family, but it is the same with dogs as with children. How children behave in the parental home, when mum and dad pay the bills is one thing. How they behave in someone else’s property is quite another.
Dogs can be good company, lie at the feet of their owners and generally, not make their presence felt. They can also shed hair, smell, chew doors and architraves and, if the landlord is very unlucky, use the floor as an unofficial toilet. As many landlords will testify, the property can become permeated with a ‘doggy’ odour which requires in-depth cleaning, quite probably re-carpeting and even re-decorating.
Has Mr. Corbyn ever visited a private rented property with a dog in residence? He might think differently if he had visited the properties I have and seen the mementoes left by the ‘grateful’ tenants.
Landlords must have the right to say that their properties must be kept free from animals, if they choose to do so. Some landlords will be allergic to dogs, as might future tenants; the landlord with the allergy needs to be confident that a dog has not been in the property, both for his benefit and possibly for a future tenant’s sake.
There can be good dog owners that will be perfectly acceptable tenants; but it is up to the landlord to make this decision, usually by a visit to the property where the prospective tenant resides, before a new tenancy is offered. It cannot be left to legislators to decide whether dogs are welcome in a property. Landlords can be relied upon to act with fairness to tenants; sadly, the same cannot be said for all tenants.
For advice on buy to let issues – Ask Sharon