How best to handle a "pet" issue?

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    How best to handle a "pet" issue?

    Our tenants have been in our rental for nearly 4 years without issue. The original fixed term tenancy agreement gave way to a periodic tenancy. The tenants have been good, if rather untidy!

    Over the weekend while performing some maintenance while the tenants were away on holiday for a week, my wife noticed some damage around the two bedroom house:
    - Edges of skirting boards and plasterboard scraped off at a low level
    - Pieces of carpet missing on stairs i.e. small chunks
    - Frayed/loose carpet on entrance to bedrooms
    - Low level wall paper damage in lounge
    - Bottom of kitchen unit doors scuffed in kitchen
    - Plinth of kitchen units damaged
    - Tenants lamp and vacuum cable missing chunks of the plastic sheaf

    And finally she spotted some droppings in a number of places and noticed the tenants own rug had a number of brown marks on it! There was also a general unpleasant smell, which my wife believed was urine.

    It is clear the tenants are keen on rabbits as they have a number of rabbit ornaments around the property! In the garage were bags of hay and in the transparent vacuum collection bin there was hay and food.

    Based on the above we have come to the conclusion the tenants are keeping rabbits and allowing them to run around the house, resulting in the described damage.

    This is a surprise to us as all the times we've visited the property there have been no sign of rabbits and the tenancy agreement specifically states that pets are not allowed. They have therefore hidden this from us.

    We don't particular care that they have rabbits, but we do care that they are being allowed in the house and are causing damage.

    I will need to have a chat with them when they get back from holiday.

    I would appreciate any advice on how to handle this situation?

    #2
    S21 notice or suck it up. Anything else is pointless IHMO.

    Comment


      #3
      I have kept rabbits and they are probably one of the more property damaging pets you can keep.
      The urine is a particularly nasty ammonia smell.

      The tenants will claim that they live outside and are only allowed in occasionally, but indoor rabbits are indoor rabbits.
      I'd suggest that they either serve notice or increase the rent by sufficient to pay for a complete recarpeting and the rest of the damage.
      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by JK0 View Post
        S21 notice or suck it up. Anything else is pointless IHMO.
        Thanks but that would be a last resort.

        I will probably give the tenants the opportunity to come clean and to offer to repair the damage and promise to stop having the rabbit in the house. The last bit may be difficult to police, apart from randomly dropping in on them and checking for further damage.

        If this doesn't go well I will probably increase the rent as suggested by jpkeates as it hasn't been increased since they moved in nearly 4 years ago.

        Is there a process I should follow or be aware of in terms of giving them a "written" warning or increasing the rent?

        Comment


          #5
          It may be a single house rabbit. They can be litter tray trained, so there is no reason except laziness for the droppings and urine smells. Rabbits are very destructive, they have to chew all the time. So - I'd point out all the damage that has been caused, I'd have photographs of all the signs of rabbit occupation. Then you discuss an increase in their deposit to cover damage and cleaning and/or an increase in rent.

          Comment


            #6
            We took "lots" of photos while at the property at the weekend, so have plenty of proof of the damage and that a "rodent" of some sort has been in the house.

            What really annoys me is that this damage has obviously been done over time, so they must be aware that it is happening and have made no attempt to prevent it.

            We also noticed a water stain in the kitchen ceiling below the bathroom and a curtain rail hanging off the wall in a bedroom, both things they "should" have informed us about, but couldn't be bothered.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by milleniumaire View Post
              We also noticed a water stain in the kitchen ceiling below the bathroom and a curtain rail hanging off the wall in a bedroom, both things they "should" have informed us about, but couldn't be bothered.
              This is a difficult line to tread for tenants, as they will also be concerned that this will be reported to someone like poster of https://forums.landlordzone.co.uk/fo...nt-referencing as being unreasonably demanding, or a headache. My impression is that tenants under report problems because the balance of power is against them.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by buzzard1994 View Post
                It may be a single house rabbit. They can be litter tray trained, so there is no reason except laziness for the droppings and urine smells. Rabbits are very destructive, they have to chew all the time. ... Then you discuss an increase in their deposit to cover damage and cleaning and/or an increase in rent.
                Although, in theory, rabbits can be house trained, it's not 100% reliable. The issue is the urine, because rabbit pooh isn't unpleasant (rabbits being small and vegetarian), once you overcome your instinctive dislike of anything that comes out of the back end of an animal.

                If there's only one rabbit, they're much more likely to chew things and pi55 everywhere, because they're terribly unhappy on their own. If you keep rabbits you should have a minimum of two (most rabbit rescues won't allow owners to have one rabbit).

                Ideally, increase the rent, not the deposit. When you allow someone to have a pet, the "normal" wear and tear accommodates the obvious consequences of a live animal living somewhere. While that probably doesn't extend to actual damage and "outputs", it would probably include hair and a need for a deeper clean than usual.

                Originally posted by milleniumaire View Post
                We also noticed a water stain in the kitchen ceiling below the bathroom and a curtain rail hanging off the wall in a bedroom, both things they "should" have informed us about, but couldn't be bothered.
                Or were reluctant to tell you about because you might cause them a problem about their pet (who they will love beyond belief).



                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by milleniumaire View Post
                  I would appreciate any advice on how to handle this situation?
                  https://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/...ish-rabbit-pie



                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by JK0 View Post
                    S21 notice or suck it up. Anything else is pointless IHMO.
                    This....... having a 'word' is fine but what do you want to happen after this chat ?? They get rid of all their furry friends...... if not, then what ? As said either accept it given they pay the rent and are long term (see how much of the deposit at the end is needed to repair the damage), or S21 (Whilst we still can) and move on.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      You do need to tell them you are aware they are keeping pets against the terms of their lease as otherwise you have knowingly accepted them & the damage becomes wear & tear. As the damage is done you have 2 options in my view - give them notice to leave & then charge them for the damage or let them stay but inform them they will be charged for the damage when the leave. If they stay 10 years you would expect to replace carpets so there is no real loss there & further damage to skirting boards etc doesn't increase the amount they will have to pay for replacement or repair. I would also increase the rent - not because of the rabbits but because 4 years is a long time without a rent rise!

                      It is incredibly frustrating when this happens, but if they are otherwise good tenants & want to stay, financially it makes sense to allow them to. Inspect regularly & keep good records about the damage being done.

                      Good luck!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jpucng62 View Post
                        You do need to tell them you are aware they are keeping pets against the terms of their lease as otherwise you have knowingly accepted them & the damage becomes wear & tear.
                        That's not quite correct.
                        The knowledge without action might impact any damages in a legal claim against the tenant, but it doesn't change the terms of the contract or permit the breach.

                        In reality, the landlord has seen some damage, some pet food and something that might be droppings.
                        That's cause for concern, but it's not a rabbit.
                        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                          If there's only one rabbit, they're much more likely to chew things and pi55 everywhere, because they're terribly unhappy on their own. If you keep rabbits you should have a minimum of two (most rabbit rescues won't allow owners to have one rabbit).

                          Not true - you can get one rabbit if its going to be a house rabbit, you have to have 2 if they wont have a lot of human company. Rescues prefer to home them in pairs because they have far too many rabbits. And some house rabbits are happy, although they do need a lot of human company. They may be happier than the average rabbit left outdoors in too small a hutch and with no company, far too much cruelty towards rabbits. We looked after a house rabbit for a short time and she was perfectly house trained (before she arrived).

                          I agree that some tenants dont report damage because they fear being evicted.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Rabbit's need to be kept with at least one other friendly rabbit.
                            https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwe...abbits/company
                            When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                            Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by jpucng62 View Post
                              the damage becomes wear & tear.
                              Why does damage become wear and tear?

                              Wear and tear is what happens by living there; damage is anything else.

                              An animal peeing and pooping everywhere is damage because it is foreseeable and the T has not taken steps to prevent it; similarly cats scratching woodwork etc is damage. Animals rubbing against things at low level is wear and tear.

                              Originally posted by jpucng62 View Post
                              If they stay 10 years you would expect to replace carpets so there is no real loss there
                              But the urine-soaked flooring that needs to be replaced is a loss.

                              Comment

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