Some landlords are charging “pet rent” running into hundreds of pounds a year in an attempt to recoup losses from a ban on unfair letting fees enforced by the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
The new practice means tenants with animals are being charged up to £50 a month additional rent for a single pet. The Tenant Act 2019 had capped tenancy deposit and banned most fees associated with renting that tenants would usually have to pay. By charging a ‘pet rent’ landlords and agents are able to lawfully recoup lost fees. This practice could see an amendment to the Tenant Fees Act 2019 in the future to prohibit ‘pet rent’.
Before the Tenant Fees Act 2019, which was supposed to save renters across England £240m a year, landlords often asked for pet deposits of around £150, repayable at the end of the tenancy.
Many adverts for homes demanding pet rent can be seen on the rental websites Rightmove and Zoopla, along with many more refusing to take pets.
Half of UK adults own a pet, with 11 million owning cats and almost 9 million owning dogs, according to the veterinary charity PDSA. At the same time more and more families are having to rent. A quarter of families in England rent privately, reaching nearly 1.6m last year, more than double the number recorded in the government’s English Housing Survey a decade earlier.