01 Jun 23
Three-quarters of landlords want to raise rents in the face of the new Renter’s Reform Bill – mostly because of pets.
When specialist buy to let broker Mortgages for Business polled landlords about their response to the legislation, a sixth said they would make no changes to their business-model but would increase rents.
A further three in every five (60 per cent) would take out insurance to cover pet damage — the price of which would also need to be paid for with higher rents.
When asked about deposit sizes, half of landlords said they would increase the size of tenants’ deposit to help to cover the costs of any potential damage caused.
A 2022 report found that 85 per cent of landlords and letting agents have incurred pet damage to their properties — with 57 per cent unable to recoup the costs of damage caused by pets.
Under the new Renters Reform Bill landlords will not be able to ‘unreasonably’ refuse requests for keeping pets. If a landlord does not want to allow the tenant to keep pets, they must now object in writing within 28 days of a written request from the tenant and provide a ‘good reason’ for the refusal. Labour’s proposed Renters’ Charter also amends landlords’ rights to refuse pets.
Furthermore, recent research has also shown an obvious presence of pets can devalue a home by almost five per cent — with owners set to sacrifice £13,911 when selling the property as a result.
Jeni Browne, director of Mortgages for Business, says: “Government statistics suggest only seven per cent of landlords currently market their properties as ‘pet-friendly’. This is not an accident.
“It’s expensive to be a landlord to tenants with pets: they can damage properties and lower the market value of a property, too. As such, it’s reasonable to refuse tenants with pets — it keeps costs down.
“So an important unintended consequence of the ill-conceived Renters Reform Bill is that three-quarter of landlords are going to be forced to jack-up rents for all tenants in case some of them have a pet. No wonder Michael Gove is backtracking over half of it already.
“This legislation will be fabulous for the minority of tenants who are actually pet-owners — but it’s not a great look for a government that’s supposed to be helping tenants in the face of a cost of living crisis.”
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