Allowing pets on the condition of taking out pet damage insurance

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    Allowing pets on the condition of taking out pet damage insurance

    Hi all,

    I’m a journalist writing for an insurance sector trade publication, and I came across Landlord Zone while researching a story.

    The piece I’m working on is looking at a proposal to amend the Tenant Fees Act to make pet damage insurance a permitted payment. This would effectively allow landlords to make a tenant’s purchase of pet damage insurance a precondition of bringing a pet into a property, or alternatively allow landlords to bill tenants for the cost of the insurance.

    I’m hoping to add a landlord perspective to my piece, and I wondered if anyone would be open to short (5/10 minutes) phone call to share their thoughts on the idea – whether you think this is a workable solution in a situation where tenants want to own pets, and whether you think landlords who currently ban pets would be likely to change their position if insurance was in place?

    The focus on the piece is on whether an insurance solution to pets in rented properties is viable and whether it would work for all parties.

    If this sounds like something you’d be open to, you can reach me on 02073169284 or at harry.curtis@infopro-digital.com. Alternatively, happy to hear the thoughts of the Landlord Zone community in this topic here.

    Thanks,
    Harry

    #2
    As someone who has allowed pets in the past, who has had tenants have pets without permission and who has had significant damage done by pets kept with and without permission this will not alter my stance of 'no pets'.

    There are two ways I envision this insurance working:

    1. LL asks tenant to take out a policy. The problem here is that the tenant might cancel the policy or might not want to make a claim when I do or might not be covered for what I think they should so there is no guarantee that this policy would pay out when I needed it to.

    2. The LL takes out the policy and bills the tenant. The problem here is that I am now micromanaging my tenant. And what happens if I insure the tenant for 1 dog and then they get 2 more? Its not an area I want to get into.

    The other problem with pets is when does fair wear & tear become damage? There is no doubt that a dog or cat in a property results in extra wear & tear on flooring, furnishings, wood work etc and if I allow pets I must assume there will be this extra wear and tear. Whilst it may be fine for that tenant, the property then is shabbier than it would be for the next tenant - who may not want a pet.

    My stance is, and will remain, 'no pets'. A tenant who has stayed for several years and requests a pet suitable for the property may be allowed to keep one if they have proved themselves a good tenant who pays rent on time & looks after the property, otherwise it remains a no from me.

    There are plenty of LLs who will accept pets and the simplest way to increase this is to allow a 'Pet Deposit'.There is no need in my opinion to introduce a layer of profit for an insurance firm, which will costs tenants more and probably still not persuade LLs like me to change their stance.

    Comment


      #3
      There's not really a viable sanction if a tenant agrees to take pet insurance and then doesn't.
      The landlord would have to either try and evict the tenant for breaking their tenancy agreement - which is both disproportionate and unlikely to succeed.
      Or sue them for compensation for their loss (which is exactly the same situation as now).

      So the landlord would have to take additional insurance for possible pet damage and could simply charge the tenant a higher rent to pass the charge on.

      The issue with pet related insurance is that most pet issues aren't "damage", they're routine cleaning / carpet and underlay replacement. And I don't see that as being insurable (it's not a "risk" it's a certainty).
      So you'd have to factor that into the rent as well.

      I don't have an issue with long term tenants having pets - if they're going to be living there for years, my costs of cleaning/redecorating are the same with or without pets anyway.
      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 harrycurtis View Post
        The focus on the piece is on whether an insurance solution to pets in rented properties is viable and whether it would work for all parties.
        That is the core problem in a nutshell. The state DOES NOT WANT people to be allowed to contract with each other to the benefit of all parties. Essentially they couldn't give a stuff about what people want and how to achieve that mutually most-suitable arrangement.

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks both your thoughts, those are useful perspectives to have

          Comment


            #6
            What if the tenant doesnt renew the policy after the first year? I don't think that insurance is the solution. An amendment to TFA to allow a pet deposit might at least restore the previous position for tenants with pets.

            Comment


              #7
              Personally i rent upstairs flats with carpets to people with jobs. Also i have a poor sense of smell but unfortunalety prospective tenants mostly dislike the smell of dogs cats ot tobacco.
              i am not a pet owner owner but it seems wrong to lock a dog in all day and the neighbouring flats go mad if there is a dog that barks all day.

              Comment


                #8

                Comment


                  #9
                  A pet deposit would be far simpler and cheaper for the tenant.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Is this proposal about landlords/tenants at all, other than as a source of revenue for the insurer?

                    Or is it a proposal for the insurance company taking a premium for something they are hardly ever going to pay out on?

                    As already said the issue for landlords is not 'damage' as such but increased wear and tear.

                    PS. Normal pet insurance, for vet bills etc., often already covers 3rd party damage or injury caused by the pet.
                    A tenant who gets a deduction from their deposit for extra wear and tear caused by their pet could try claiming on their existing pet insurance, how far do you think they would get?

                    Maybe existing pet insurance cover should be expanded to cover deposit deductions for wear and tear caused by a tenants pets, rather than making a whole new insurance class/policy?
                    The tenant who insures their pet could then choose if they want to take that cover or not.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Would it not be simpler to have a 'tenant pet damage' optional extra (without a ridiculous excess !!) on rented property insurance policies, a bit like landlord contents or accidental damage cover ?

                      The policy excess could then be deducted from the tenant's deposit where necessary.

                      Landlords could then make the business decision whether or not to accept pets and price their rent to cover the additional premium.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Nah. The premium will be low before the careless pet owner moves in, and go through the roof after you've claimed for his damage.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Many people in the UK have Asthma, and those with Asthma can be allergic to cats to such an extent that if she does into a house where there are cats within 10 minutes her eyes are streaming with water and she cannot breath. As such when she rents a property out she makes sure "no pets" in case when a tenant leaves and she goes into clean or decorate she is not effected (not everybody can afford cleaners or decorators)
                          Also I wonder what the position would be if a tenant with Asthma takes on a tenancy and within a few hours is suffering with an allergic reaction, they would want their tenancy ending.
                          Plus having a dog ourselves I am aware how much they cost to feed, vet bills insurance, A dog could easily cost £30 a month, which could go towards the rent.
                          Plus if you let the tenant have their own pet damage insurance you would not be able to make a claim as you are not the policy holder.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Piffy View Post
                            Plus having a dog ourselves I am aware how much they cost to feed, vet bills insurance, A dog could easily cost £30 a month, which could go towards the rent.
                            Not really sure that's relevant unless you're assuming all tenants struggle with paying rent

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