The government says: furget about pet deposits

The government has stated that it has no plans to amend the Tenant Fees Act to allow separate and additional charging for pet insurance or to cover pet damage.

We have been expecting this decision and sadly it means the end of the road for us so far as pets are concerned. There is always a risk that a pet will cause damage. Our experience has included an elderly cat that ruined carpets by urinating on them, and we have also had experience of dogs chewing things and creating a lasting odour. It can cost far more than the permitted maximum deposit to remedy this sort of damage and therefore with regret from now on it it will be a straightforward “No Pets” policy for us. I don’t like doing this because pets are valuable for people’s mental health and I like animals myself, but the risk is too great.

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Letting agents have already been declining tenants with pets. I am in the weird position of being both a landlord and tenant, so know the rules. Letting agents have BARRED me from even viewing properties because I said I was getting a pet. The reason? They said it was down to legislation. They aren’t allowed to charge a pet deposit, so they just blanket-ban all pet owners. They get round it by NOT STATING THIS ON THEIR ADVERTS. I have reported this particular agent to Rent Smart Wales. It is a disgrace! It is already near impossible to get a new rental property, this makes it TOTALLY impossible.

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Tenants need the deterrence of an extra 50 percent deposit. It provides the opportunity to make sure the tenant is aware of responsibilities of owning a pet. Often the pet is a whim, left in all day, goes crazy and the landlord is left with the bill. We adopted the let’s with pets scenario where they sign up to responsibilities adopted into the tenancy agreement. We are not anti pets, we just need the opportunity to impress upon the tenant what they are taking on. Very large dogs or very aggressive dog types are not acceptable to me and I need the reassurance that a tenant is not simply going to announce that they bought a couple of fighting dogs off a guy in a pub when I turn up fir a visit. Amazing how things can go wrong very quickly round pets. I bought a landlorded property that required £30000 of remedial works over the entire ground floor. Good for me but bad for the old landlord… I have many time suffered costs in the £1000to £4000 range (in the business 30 years and a serial landlord)
In conclusion the guvmint is creating nothing of value in this arrangement whereas an approach which involves discussion and agreement with a small potential financial penalty does.
Incidentally the cost of pets has skyrocketed, so if a dog costs £3k, what’s the problem with paying a little up front against a pets misdoings?

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I had to remove all the carpets in my house after my tenant shut her elderly cat in the front room - nice carpet with cosy underlay all had to go. I tried many market remedies to remove the smell and could not. I ended up bleaching the tiles floor and waited months before reflooring with laminate wood. I got NO financial help either. My tenants cleaned the carpets prior to me returning to check and it looked and smelt clean while damp. I returned their deposit on these grounds (rookie error) After it dried it was unbelievably bad. I think there is nothing short of a pet damage clause needed it is not fair landlords should pay for this damage. Very unhappy.

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I agree with Allan6
Pet owners should accept a further deposit charge for pets.
I had a tenant who took on a ‘small dog’ in a tenancy that had a no pet policy.
The ‘small dog’ was a Boxer puppy, so naive she hadn’t thought it would be a problem and hadn’t thought puppies get bigger or that they need training.
When she left 6 weeks later I had to replace smelly and ripped carpets throughout the entire property at my own cost.
My no pet policy sadly remains in place.

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As a pet owner and landlord I entirely understand people’s desire to have a pet and I will support that.
I allow pets but I make sure it is appropriate for the property and that the tenant is clear on their obligations. As my standard deposit is 4 weeks I add an extra week. have a supplement notice to the tenancy to make clear pet damage & nuisance is their responsibility and I only allow pets appropriate to the property (e.g. no big dogs in small properties). I have had some carpet damage from cat clawing but it was an old carpet and came to an agreement with the tenant, no issue.
Yes it is an increased risk but I also know tenants who have treated property worse than animals and there is no more ability to recover those costs than there is from pets.
Pets also creates loyalty as they know it’s hard to rent with pets so generally stay longer. I

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Just what we need! The start of another 200 post thread on pets.

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I don’t understand what the government are thinking there. if you are letting in an area with relatively low rents, the 5 week cap isn’t enough as it is, even without pets.

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It’s never enough. 5 weeks’ rent in a more expensive area is even less of a security.

The fact the government thinks that is sufficient at all is ludicrous.

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agree with David another 200 replies Totally stupid… pets ,my place my property , my way of doing things . Pets I will not take .

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Landlords are never limited to the 5 weeks deposit that they can take. They always have the option to sue the tenant in court for the actual costs if they exceed this. The question should really be does the tenant have sufficient income to cover the potential damage that their pet can inflict.

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It kind of annoys me when people say that suing someone is a practical remedy because nowadays it very often is not. Using solicitors is prohibitively expensive. Using the online court service Moneyclaim Online is time-consuming especially if the defendant wants to appear at a hearing. Actually getting money after obtaining judgement is also difficult because the court bailiff service is useless and private collection firms charge a lot which may or may not be recoverable. Anyone who is on the receiving end of a claim is going to do all they can to get out of it. The whole process is awful and nobody is paying you for your time, let alone the stress. That is why we take deposits.

The thing that Jenrick said that really wound me up is that the 5 week cap on deposits should not be seen as the default option. We used to take 6 weeks and that wasn’t really enough. It would only cover, say, one month’s unpaid rent and a tiny bit of damage. And bad tenants usually leave with both unpaid rent and damage.

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I started the thread because the government has announced that pet deposits will not be allowed. This is not unexpected but is still news and Open Rent considered it important enough to include in their most recent email.

Nobody has to read this thread, or respond to it, or give it any thought.

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Considering all the discussions regarding Tenant pets and both the Labour and Conservative governments pushing to encourage private landlords to allow it they don’t do any favours by refusing increased deposits to offset potential damage caused by an unruly animal. As a result of this the continued boycott of applicants with pets will no doubt continue despite the increase in applications from pet owning tenants.
As most Landlords are aware many applicants will attempt all method of deception in gaining a tenancy with a pet, the ultimate sin being sneaking an undisclosed animal into the property after they have secured the tenancy.

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My sentiment precisely

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Yes, that happened to us. Lots of excuses, which turned out to be lies.

I don’t disagree with that, but its not much less hassle or stress convincing the deposit scheme to cough up for a lot of people and they essentially use the same criteria as the courts.

Its only really worth suing someone if they have a decent salaried job to which an attachment of earnings order can be made if necessary, but if its for an amount in excess of 5 weeks rent, it would be worth the hassle for most people.

Look, in principle I agree that the 5 weeks deposit cap is silly and arbitrary and there were good reasons being put forward to change it, which the Gov’t stubbornly ignored. However, playing devils advocate for a moment, it does raise the question of how much is enough with a deposit? Six weeks, seven, eight… I don’t know the figures on how many successful deposit claims for damage manage to secure all of the 5 weeks deposit, but it must be a tiny number, mainly because landlords don’t take enough care establishing the evidence or because they over-estimate the amounts they’re due in compensation. So the arguments for increasing it already look weak and when you also factor in the affordability angle for tenants and the fact that the landlord has other options in the case of serious damage, its perhaps not so surprising that the Government didn’t budge.

The crux of the matter re anything to do with tenants and landlords is that tenants can get away with murder and no penalties but landlords are screwed every time If tenant brings in a pet or three, ,has lied about their income etc no penalty in law . But if a landlord lies about doccuments or inspections or certificates , PENALTIES

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It’s a super tricky situation as tenants with pets tend to be more long term tenants (think we are all referring to dogs and cats in this?!) and it’s so nice to have pets but really I think the issues with pets is actually an issue with dogs… BUT there are no known factors of the animal e.g. are they smelly slobbery scratchy or chewy…It’s such an unknown as to what the potential damage should or could be and then one months deposit is unlikely to cover that carpets needing replacing or a puppy chewing kitchen units in an open plan property?! For me if there is no additional retainer or rent increase then I think it’s actually making it worse for tenants as landlords will now just blanket say no. I rent to someone with a cat but said no to dogs as we felt the open plan layout was totally unsuitable for a dog and the floors were all vinyl meaning damage to that would be well over the deposit amount then need court proceedings and lost months of rent when they moved out to repair before new renters.

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Spot on, even if you can get a claim into court in a reasonable time frame, you then have to wait for a bailiffs appointment, give the tenant a further 2 weeks notice of that date, before you can get them out. Then try getting your settlement of the claim…

I also used to take 1.5 month deposit. It’s high time we adopted the US system of 1 month in advance + 1 month deposit + last months rent.

There needs to be a system of insurance backed deposits for both tenants and pets, since landlords have had to swallow the considerable expense of a bad tenant for far too long now. That will soon weed out the chaff, no insurance - no tenancy!

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