OpenRent Community

Deposit cap and pets

I was just wondering, we are often asked if we will take tenants with pets and organisations like cats protection league lobby for more landlords to take them saying an extra deposit can be paid to cover any additional pet-related damage. With the 5 week cap does that mean additional deposits for pet damage are illegal?

Hi - yes, exactly. This is a problem no one seemed to talk about much during the consultation process, though it’s one that OpenRent raised with Heather Wheeler, an MHCLG minister.

Sadly, the deposit cap could indeed make it harder for pet owners to convince landlords to let to them.

But it’s unclear whether the extra deposit was ever an effective way of tackling pet damage anyway. It was more of a psychological tool tenants could use to ‘put their money where their mouth is’ when persuading the landlord that their pets were well behaved.

In theory, a dog could do far more damage than the extra ~£200 deposit could ever cover.

As a tenant with a cat and a dog the deposit cap means we can never move again without saving desperately for a mortgage! Before the change in law we were able to offer an additional “pet bond” which we have always had returned because we are good tenants with good pets. 90% of listings have No pets, No Smokers, No DSS and I understand that landlords have to cover their own backs for their own potential damage costs/loses. In reality if ridiculous letting agency fees had been done away with but deposits could have still been flexible that would have helped everyone. Now I’ve got to hope that If I want to move I can offer extra rent every month instead of an additional deposit! It’s not like the cat or the dog ever spilt nail varnish on the carpet, or burnt the kitchen side with a hot pan, or drawn on the walls in marker pen yet we still lease to families with children. :joy:

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I agree that children are hardly damage-free! lol, but since the law has now come into effect prohibiting pet deposits it seems offering an overpayment on the rent for pets to try and persuade landlords is the only feasible way forward (unless they are happy to accept them anyway, but this seems the minority).
Just out of interest Samantha, how much each month would you consider reasonable? (my properties are fully let at present, but it would be nice to have a benchmark for the future)

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Currently I am in a 3 bed property at £595pcm and I paid a £200 extra deposit which I’m not allowed to do legally anymore. I would definitely consider an extra £30-£50 Extra PCM if a landlord would accept pets. My pets are as much part of my family as my children and over course of a 12month tenancy £50 extra is £600. Assume I stay 5 years that extra £3000 would definitely cover cost of any carpet damage a pet could cause. I definitely wouldn’t offer more than an additional £50pcm.

I would however encourage landlords to use their discretion and try and be flexible especially around pets as we are not bad tenants just because we have a dog and a cat. Our rent is always on time and in full and I keep this house immaculate as it is my home.

That is interesting. We have been landlords for 18 months. Our tenants moved in to a newly renovated 3 bed home with all new kitchen, bathroom and carpet etc, so we specified ‘no pets’. They are good tenants and want to rent long term which suits us (as long as our personal circumstances dont change) and they have asked if they can have a pet, either a cat or dog. We are considering it at the moment, but only if we can be pet-specific. We are not considering increasing the rent just yet as we had a few problems with the house that didnt manifest until after it was occupied. One of our worries is that it is harder to evict a tenant, even at the end of the AST, if they have a pet and nowhere else to take their pet, as you are finding, not that we anticipate needing to evict any time soon, if at all.

Hi Lorraine, having a pet may make it harder for the tenant to find a new home, sadly. That may change the practicalities of getting them to leave, but legally I don’t believe tenants with pets have any more protections against eviction than those without. The eviction process proceeds in the same way. It’s just more likely that they will be slow to move out if they can’t find a new home.

Sam

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