Landlords are charging tenants with pets up to £50 a month extra in a bid to recoup losses following the ban on letting fees and the cap on five-week deposits.
The new practice of “pet rent” for cats and dogs or other clawed animals has emerged since the Tenant Fees Act was introduced in June, The Guardian reports.
One landlord in Bicester in Oxfordshire is asking £40 per pet in addition to the £995 monthly rent for a month two-bedroom home, The Guardian report found. The additional charge would mean a family with a dog and two cats would face a yearly “pet rent” of over £1,400.
The Tenant Fees Act forbids landlords charging cleaning fees at the end of a tenancy or asking for an additional pet deposit. As a result, many landlords now feel they have no choice but to charge the extra rent in order to cover the cost of any damage to the property by a pet.
“The only way to do it is to charge higher rent,” said Karolina Misiukiewicz, administrator at Elliot Oliver, an estate agent in Cheltenham told The Guardian. “It’s a new thing for us. In our experience we haven’t taken extra for hamsters or gerbils and definitely not fish.”
A ban on pets has been the default position for many landlords for years, but with so many people – including an increasing number of families – now in long-term rental accommodation, critics say banning pets or charging extra for them no longer reflects modern day living circumstances. Many argue that by allowing pets, landlords would attract responsible, settled tenants.
A quarter of families in England rent privately, equating to nearly 1.6m last year, more than double the number recorded in the government’s English Housing Survey a decade earlier.