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Published on : July 9, 2021 10:05

Can pet references help landlords?

A new service, which is due to launch in August, will allow landlords to access online references for registered pets during the referencing stage of letting a property; but at a cost.

Many landlords will understand that referencing is a critically important component of the letting process, prior to moving any prospective tenants into their property.

Right to rent, credit and employment checks are all the foundations of establishing a prospective tenant’s ability to rent your property; in addition to any potential landlord references which can help establish if a prospective tenant will pay their rent on time or at all.

When it comes to having pets in a property, however, many landlords are against the idea. Outright refusal to let to pets has been generated from negative past experiences, the fear of damage being caused to their property, or for the extra cleaning a property may require at the end of a tenancy. This creates additional costs whilst also slowing down the re-let period, which in turn, increases void periods.

Not all prospective tenants and pets, however, sit within the widely shared concept that landlords have. In fact, the vast majority of tenants with pets are responsible and ensure they are well trained, whilst also willing to pay slightly more on the monthly rental rate.

One of the most assuring methods of renting to tenants with pets is to obtain as much information about them as possible; ranging from size and species through to age and if they are an indoor or outdoor animal.

The process of obtaining references for pets has been relatively informal in comparison to the thorough checks carried out by referencing companies on tenants. However, one company hopes to change that in August.

PetsScore will pave the way for giving landlords peace of mind. Not only will pet-owning tenants be able to have an online file built for their companions, but specialist pet insurance will also be offered to landlords.

The references can be generated for each pet by previous letting agents, landlords, and also AirBnB hosts. These references can be shared with property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, which can make it easier when details are passed onto landlords as enquiries are made.

Landlords and letting agents are able to sign up to the scheme, which can be done on a case-by-case pricing structure, or a monthly subscription.

A one-off check will cost £10.00, whilst there are a number of monthly packages that give landlords and letting agents access to a number of references, starting at £5.00 per month (for three references), through to £300.00 per month (for 300 references).

An alternative method of gaining a pet reference for a prospective tenant is by seeking information from their veterinary surgeon. No matter who you or your agent are contacting for the information, however, there are certain questions that should be asked in order to establish the suitability of a pet for your property.

What questions should I ask?

If you or your agent are contacting a veterinary surgeon directly, you should discuss:

  • Are the tenant’s pets generally well behaved?
  • Does the veterinary surgeon consider the tenant to be a responsible pet owner?
  • Does the tenant provide routine preventive health care, such as vaccinations and flea treatments, for their pets (when appropriate)?

Other general information and questions, which can be posed to previous letting agents and landlords also, include:

  • How long did the tenant live in the previous property with their pets?
  • Which pets did they own at that time?
  • Does the referee consider the tenant to be a responsible pet owner?
  • Were the tenant’s pets well behaved?
  • Did their pets cause any damage to the property?
  • Did their pets cause a nuisance to neighbours or visitors?

By obtaining all this information, you can make informed decisions on whether or not a pet is acceptable for your property. No matter any bad experience that may have been had by landlords in the past, not every pet is ill-cared for by their owners; nor destructive and ultimately posing a risk to your property.

Seeking a pet reference will always be a great peace of mind, regardless of the avenue you choose to purse the matter through prior to commencing any tenant.

If you’d like any more information on letting your properties to tenants with pets, or how Edward Mellor can ensure your property remains well looked after even with pets residing there, call us on 0161 820 6638.


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