Certainly the number of lettings applicants with pets searching for a home appears to have grown. This may be due in part to the increased number of individuals entering the lettings market.

The 2013 pet population report compiled by the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association (PFMA) estimates that 45% of UK households have pets, out of which 25% of households own dogs and 19% cats.

The economic outlook over the last few years has not so much altered the demographic of lettings applicant – we have always had families with children and young professionals as tenants – but, what it has done has increased the percentage of people entering the private rentals sector – a trend which is due to continue.

For some landlords, this can present a dilemma. Historically, landlords have preferred to not accept tenants with pets due to the additional wear and tear and, in extreme cases, the damage they believe pets can cause to a property. However, when faced with the choice between accepting a tenant with a pet over a potential void period, some landlords may be reassured that there are certain steps that can be taken in order to reduce damage to a property, thereby making the proposition of accepting pets more palatable.

Simple changes to the property interior, such as installing laminate or wooden flooring, rather than carpet, will increase longevity as well as hygiene. The suitability of a particular pet needs to be assessed in line with the accommodation available within a particular property. It is also worth remembering that, for tenants with pets, we include specific clauses within the tenancy agreement. These ensure an increased deposit is taken and that any damage caused by a pet, either to the house or garden, is fully reimbursed at the end of a tenancy. A professional clean is always required at the end of a tenancy but any additional cleaning, such as steam cleaning or fumigation, can also be included and covered by these additional clauses.

It is my experience that landlords who will consider taking tenants with pets tend to be those who experience fewer void periods than those who don’t. Given the increased number of people entering the private rented sector and the practical steps that can be taken to limit property damage, I would urge all landlords who want to reduce void periods to seriously consider all offers including those from applicants with pets.