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EXCLUSIVE: Trading Standards to halt agents charging pet rent if legal advice goes its way

Trading standards is not happy that agents are charging tenants higher rents if they have pets, a trend caused by the fees ban's five-week rent deposit cap.

Nigel Lewis

The National Trading Standards Estate Agency Team (NTSEAT) has sought legal advice on whether agents can charge higher rents or additional ‘rent premiums’ for tenants who have pets, and a decision is likely next week, The Negotiator has been told.

As we have reported before, many agents have been charging up to £50 a month or £600 a year as a ‘rent premium’ to tenants who have dogs or cats.

This has been prompted by the tenant fees ban legislation in England and Wales, which capped rental deposits at five week’s rent for most tenancies, and six weeks’ rent for those over £50,000 a year.

Link to Redress Scheme news“This has caused some issues especially with problem properties and tenants where agents have always quite rightly said that they wanted larger deposits because it’s very difficult getting money back from people after they have moved on,” says James Munro, Senior Manager at NTSEAT (left).

“So they want to ensure they have a contingency if there are problems during the tenancy.

“They are saying five weeks’ deposit isn’t enough now, and understandably they are trying different ways of trying to deal with this.

“But we’re not entirely happy with this because we think it’s something that should be dealt with and addressed via the deposit, not the rent.

Munro says he believes it’s not a fair way of mitigating potential cost or lost rent because agents are asking tenants to pay a non-refundable premium even if they are a model tenant.

“The Dogs Trust says people with pets are normally more responsible than those without pets,” says Munro.

NTSEAT is also worried that agents and landlords may eventually start charging higher rents for other ‘greater risk’ tenants such as families with small children in a bid to offset potential tenancy costs.

Read the second part of our interview with James Munro tomorrow on NTSEAT’s progress on rogue landlord and agent enforcement and third party referrals.

November 26, 2019

4 comments

  1. Have these people not got a clue? Please see my notes below on the subject when we told em what was going happen if they stopped us charging extra deposits to cover our losses just in case pet damaged. As many of us have had. I’ve had £1000 stairs chewed apart by dogs.
    Tell Trading Standards, Landlords just won’t take ANY PETS. And that’s not nice on the pets nor the owners.

    Shelter are getting a bit of a backlash on Twitter for saying Landlords are out of order for charging more for tenants pets. We all told ’em this was gonna’ happen if we couldn’t insure the potential loss with extra deposit just in case. Now cause Shelter supported scrapping tenant fees ban, reduced deposit etc, ALL ALL tenants with pets are now paying more with no refund if ZERO damage. We can now say Told u so to Shelter. And it’s people like me and xxxx that made it clear to Shelter what could happen if they pursue these none understanding of the market policies, so much so that as time goes on, these thick no idea of business

  2. More doogooding that will backfire again; if they do, anyone with a pet will find it more difficult to rent if not impossible. The only good news is that hopefully it will lead to less dogs and subsequent pavement mess. Give a discount to tenants who Don’t have a pet and therefore you aren’t charging them anything.

    The letting industry has turned into a national unfunny joke.

  3. Surely it’s the landlords that are getting the extra rent not the agents? At £600 a year given the numbers it is nothing to the agent?
    Instead of tinkering around the edges how about lobbying government to rethink the whole deposit and fee set up? The article is right in so much as the higher risk tenants will pay more though, well done government/shelter, is that really what was intended?

  4. Well who couldn’t see additional ‘pet’ rents coming – apart from the Government who introduced the cap on deposits that is. Of course they would have seen it coming had they listened to the industry rather than the likes of Shelter and Generation Rent.

    The next thing ‘to come’, should additional rents for pets be blocked, will be a total ban on pets, so watch out RSPCA, Dogs Trust etc – better build some more kennel blocks for those poor abandoned animals.

    Being a pet lover and dog owner myself I find this prospect horrific and am wild with anger at the Government’s lack of forethought and desperation to attract potentially more votes by the pandering to Shelter’s every whim.

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