Government plans set to outlaw tenants with pets plus other ‘high risk’ tenants?
Following the recent confirmation of a new Tenants’ Fees Bill, it has come to light that a cap on security deposits is also included in the details of the draft.
The Tenants’ Fees Bill will implement the policy to ban landlords and agents from requiring tenants to make any payments as a condition of their tenancy, with the exception of rent, a security deposit, a holding deposit and tenant default fees.
In the initial consultation on the fees ban, where the Government announced their intention to look at putting a cap on security deposits, the NLA attempted to argue that it was unnecessary but (surprise, surprise!) the Government refused to listen.
Whilst not the intention, the Government’s plans for imposing this one-month cap on security deposits will inevitably reduce landlords’ willingness to accept pets by removing their flexibility to take a higher deposit to cover for pet damage.
Previous research from the NLA shows:
- 47% were unwilling to allow pets,
- 41% of those cited the reason as potential property damage,
- NLA AST stats show the average deposit (of those who take them) is 4.92 weeks’ rent.
Furthermore, The Dogs Trust’s Lets with Pets scheme advises landlords to either take a higher deposit or include a “professional cleaning on move-out” clause in the tenancy agreement in order to mitigate the financial risk of property damage.
Not only does this cast a dark cloud over tenants with pets, it would also impact on tenants with bad affordability status’, bad credit, those without a guarantor, families with children and those in receipt of benefit – AKA the higher risk tenants who are usually asked for bigger security deposits.
Mary Latham, veteran landlord and spokesperson for the Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme (MLAS) said:
“I have accepted tenants with pets for years because a home is not a home without a pet. I have never had to withhold monies from deposits because of issues caused by those pets and my tenants stay longer because they feel more at home.
I am so angry that this will force many landlords to rethink the risk and prevent pet owners from renting nice homes.
Government are so out of touch with the reality of the lives of those who they are meant to represent.”