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How do you solve a problem like…pets and smokers in rental properties?

Should landlords allow tenants to smoke and/or have pets in rental properties? It is a topic that has been debated many times by landlords, letting agents, property managers
and tenants with many different opinions and conclusions.

In the end it is the landlord’s personal decision – hopefully this blog will shed some light on both sides of the fence. It is clear that disallowing smoking tenants and those with pets will reduce your pool of potential tenants. If you do decide to be more lenient with these types of tenants it’s important to know the associated risks to your property.

Dogs, in particular, are likely to be the most popular form of household pet, and they have been known to chew skirting boards, cause damage to walls and floorboards, and make a mess of lawns and gardens. There needs to be consistency and clarity across the board – either you state that no pets are allowed, or you make clear rules, boundaries and regulations when the tenancy agreement is first signed to make sure tenants know what they can and can’t do.

How do you solve a problem like…pets and smokers in rental properties?

To cover yourself, you may want to consider a higher deposit in anticipation of any potential future damage. In addition, puppies tend to be more troublesome than more mature dogs; some landlords incorporate a no puppies policy. This means you don’t lose out on all dog-lovers looking for property to let, whilst still reducing the likelihood of damage. Certain breeds of dog that have a reputation for being dangerous are also frowned upon by insurance companies, so it may be worth limiting which breeds are allowed, too.

As for tenants who smoke, there are obvious risks. But there are also precautions landlords can take to protect their property. Smoking can discolour walls and furniture and leave a lingering smell behind that’s hard to get rid of. This may require corrective action before new tenants move in. To counter this, you could agree with tenants that they only ever smoke outdoors and dispose of cigarette butts in one place.

Statistics suggest that the overwhelming majority of landlords don’t allow smokers in their properties because of the potential problems, but it should be a personal decision, and if you think allowing smokers will increase the number of tenants you can attract, then there are rules and guidelines you can put in place to safeguard your investment.

Whatever you decide, it must be put down in writing and tenants must be fully aware of all measures in place so there’s no room for confusion or abuse of trust. All leases prepared by Letting Solutions make the position regarding pets and smoking absolutely clear so that there can be no misunderstandings. Here at Letting Solutions we would be delighted to offer advice regarding pets and smokers in rental properties. Contact us on: 0845 520 1420.

Additionally, if you are thinking about becoming a landlord or expanding your portfolio, find out how much your property could fetch in monthly rents using our Value My Property tool.