Tenant Fees Act 2019: Landlords now charging ‘pet rent’ to recoup losses

Landlords are charging ‘pet rent’, running into hundreds of pounds a year, in an attempt to negate the impact of the Tenant Fees Act, The Guardian reports.

Since the Tenant Fees Act 2019 prevents the charging of deposits over the value of five weeks’ rent, the previous usual practice of increasing deposits for tenants with pets is no longer permissible. Instead, some landlords have been charging up to £50 per month additional rent for a single pet, to cover the cost of any damages or issues the pet may cause.

For most landlords who choose to do this, the charge only applies to animals such as cats or dogs – low-impact pets like hamsters or fish are usually exempt.

The Guardian found that one landlord in Bicester, Oxfordshire, is asking £40 per pet, per month, in additional rent – which means that a family with a dog and two cats would incur an additional charge of over £1,400 a year.

This is, arguably, another example of how people who cannot afford to purchase their own property are being unfairly disadvantaged; the denial of their ability to partake in a normal part of family life – owning a pet – unless they pay sometimes extortionate charges.

Before the Tenant Fees Act 2019, which was supposed to save renters across England £240m per year, it was customary for landlords to ask for a pet deposit of around £150, returnable at the end of the tenancy. As this would now push most deposits over the five-weeks’-rent limit, landlords have had to get creative in how they can insure themselves against pet damage.

This new trend comes in combination with an increase in landlords simply refusing to allow pets in their properties, so either way it’s even harder for renters to have a feline or canine friend.

Obviously, pets do pose a risk of damage to properties, and it’s understandable that landlords want to be compensated for the potential cleaning and repair costs that may be incurred. But is a ‘pet rent’ the best (and fairest) way to go about it, or is it penalising renters for wanting to keep pets in their home?

We’d be really keen to know your thoughts on this: Fair? Unfair? Have you been affected? Tweet us @idealflatmate and let us know how you feel about ‘pet rent’.