Unfair Buy to Let Pet Rents Set for Ban

Pet rents look like the next tenant fee for the chop as trading standards bosses take legal advice on if landlords can charge tenants who keep cats or dogs. 

Many landlords charge renters up to £50 a month on top of their regular monthly payment to counter any extra wear and tear on buy-to-let homes. 

The National Trading Standards Estate and Letting Agency Team (NTSELAT) wants to ban pet rents in England and Wales in line with other charges falling under the tenant fees bans introduced earlier in 2019. 

NTSEAT has accused some letting agents and landlords of trying to circumvent the ban’s cap on rent deposits with pet deposits and argues charging extra for pets is not fair on tenants because they are paying a non-refundable extra if they are model tenants. 

Although deposits are set at the equivalent of five weeks for most properties and six weeks’ rent for those costing tenants more than £50,000 a year, extra cash is demanded from tenants with pets.

“This has caused some issues especially with problem properties and tenants where agents have always quite rightly said that they wanted larger deposits because it’s very difficult getting money back from people after they have moved on,” said NTSEAT senior manager James Munro. 

“They want to ensure they have a contingency if there are problems during the tenancy. 

“They are saying five weeks’ deposit isn’t enough now, and understandably they are trying different ways of trying to deal with this. 

“But we’re not entirely happy with this because we think it’s something that should be dealt with and addressed via the deposit, not the rent.”

NTSEAT has asked lawyers for advice and expects to announce their findings within a week or two.

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Tenant Fees

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 commenced on 1 June 2019 and banned most tenant fees in England. Only a "permitted payment" may be requested from a "relevant person"