THE BLOG

My Human Will Sign Along the Dotted Line

26/03/2013 16:11 GMT | Updated 25/05/2013 10:12 BST

Dogs, as they say, are a man's best friend and to the vast majority of owners, they are!

As a Maintenance Surveyor for Local Authorities & Housing Associations across the country, I have encountered some truly mind boggling examples of pet care.

Everything from pet odours that literally brought tears to my eyes and playing hopscotch with deposits the size of small hatchback vehicles to chickens living in the hallway and budgerigars having free reign of an entire bedroom.

According to the PFMA, Pet Food Manufacturers' Association, in 2012 48% of UK households have at least one pet. This in-turn is the equivalent of 13 million households. Now, to break that down further into the number of households which are rented I would guesstimate that the figure is approximately 3 million.

By anyone's calculation that's a massive market for agents and landlords to strongly consider.

Now, having seen a fair number of properties with pets I would say the vast majority have responsible owners who take hygienic maintenance very seriously.

This potential lucrative niche sector is being overlooked as by making this property available:

• Reduction in the void turnaround (a.k.a reduction in time whilst the property is vacant)

• There will be an increase demand for your property - with so few properties on the market that accept tenants with pets, your property will be in high demand. Pet-friendly properties are much sought after and won't be empty for long

• Tenants will be encouraged to stay longer as pet owners know the difficulties in finding rented accommodation that allows pets, so therefore they are more likely to stay longer than tenants with no pets, especially in these austere times

• A better chance of attracting more responsible tenants as the lack of rented accommodation for pet owners also means that tenants will be less likely to do anything to jeopardise their tenancy

• Pet owners are more likely to pay a higher deposit as an act of goodwill

• Clean properties - at the end of the tenancy many pet owners will pay for the property to be professionally cleaned

So what type of pets are acceptable? As the old saying goes, 'how long is a piece of string'?

If I was a landlord in this position, I would just ask. That way you'll know if you're dealing with a goldfish or a vietnamese pot bellied pig.

As different as it sounds, there is such a thing as pet references! Again, ask the previous landlord on how their previous accommodation was left and if there were any complaints of pet behaviour and if they can demonstrate that they are a responsible pet owner.

Remember to check the small print of the lease of a leasehold flat. The terms of the head lease might state that it's prohibited from keeping any type of animal in the block. However, if there isn't one, then just be discreet about it.

Include 'Sylvester' the cat on the agreement on the clause. This way, everyone is clear on the pet and it's type.

Finally, insist on a clause that the tenant has the property professionally cleaned when they leave the property. Or alternatively, come to an agreement about a non-refundable payment charge in advance to cover the cost of a full deep clean.

Although there are some that won't rent their properties under any circumstances to pet owners, there are alot that will.

So, please think about 'Speedy' the tortoise who although has it's own shell, their owner also needs their own one in the form of a roof over their head.