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By Jo Sellers at Pippin Pets Dog Training
Christmas is the time for luxury foods, noise, guests, presents and chaos. For our dogs, this can be a time for unsettled routines, temptation and over-excitement or fear.
To give your dog the best chance over the festive period, here are my top tips to help your pets:
Food – many of our favourites are toxic to dogs – alcohol, onions/leeks in our dinners, the salt in our gravy, chocolate in presents and on the tree, and some nuts. Makes sure all plates are kept off the floor and away from the dogs so no scavenging can happen. Make a note of which vets may be offering an emergency service but hopefully you won’t need it.
Long lunch – to keep your pup happier whilst you tuck into your turkey, prepare a feeder toy such as a West Paw Toppl, stuff it full of your dog’s favourite foods, freeze it and then give it to your dog at lunchtime too. Or a super long lasting chew (no rawhide).
Tree decorations – avoid putting chocolate decorations on the tree, and if you can, section off/put a barrier around the tree to keep your dog away. An opened up exercise pen is ideal for this.
Presents – All those smells! Your dog will go looking. Avoid placing down any presents in advance that may contain food. If receiving packages in advance, ask if there is any foodstuff/chocolate in there, and if so, store them safely until the big day.
Visitors at your house – makes sure your dog has a quiet area where they cannot be disturbed, and take them there to rest regularly in the day. Try and keep to their routine as much as you can. Put a stairgate across the door (the DogG8 fits to the door but stores really flat when unlocked) so that your dog cannot escape should visitors leave the door open. Make sure they are wearing a collar and ID tag just in case they do run off – that way you are more likely to be reunited quickly.
Going to visit others? – take your dog’s bed, favourite toys, food bowl so that there are familiar things in the strange home, and again try and keep to your regular routine. Keep your dog on a harness and longer lead if you are walking in an unfamiliar area so that they cannot get lost.
Fireworks – with the stresses of the noise and bustle of Christmas, many dogs then struggle with fireworks. Make a safe place for them to hide, or snuggle to you, turn up your tv and if they are really bad, speak to your vets now so that you can get medical help in advance to help soothe your dog’s nerves.
Finally, enjoy it! Your pup may love ripping open their presents and seeing what delights you have brought them, or helping the kids with their presents! Other gifts will be tempting for your dog and to keep everyone happy, make sure precious new toys or small parts are kept off the floor away from the dog.
Whatever you are doing this Christmas, just enjoy the time with your wonderful 4 legged friend.
The UK rental market has been building to a crisis for some time. Renting in London is very competitive but so are many other UK cities, such as Edinburgh, Bristol, Brighton and Manchester. It is not all about the Capital.
The rental system is to blame which has been affected by ill thought through letting legislation by the Government. The topic is highly emotive with both tenants and landlords. Tenants don’t feel they have any rights and can be evicted by landlords under the 1988 Housing Act. There are proposals to change this to aid tenants with unscrupulous private landlords.
On the other hand, landlords feel that their investments and returns are just dwindling with the ever changing taxation rules and rental legislation.
Landlords are no longer able to offset mortgages against tax and the Truss mini fiscal budget accelerated issues. Yes, rents have been going up, which has affected tenants with minimal salary increases. However, landlords argue that with their mortgages and the recent interest rate rises with more forecast, when their mortgage products expire, the increased rent won’t cover the mortgage payments. This article in the Guardian High rise mortgage costs see surge in rent prices sums up the market.
On The News Agents podcast there is one about the lettings crisis and there were some interesting points made. One portfolio landlord talked about might having to sell her property portfolio. She looks after her tenants and yes rents have increased. However, her current monthly mortgage payments are £400 per month per property. With the recent interest rate increases they would be rising to £1,800 per month per property. She points out that to cover that, rents would have to increase substantially. As she also points out , she does look after her tenants and that is important to her, but she may have to sell to survive and it is not just about being a ‘greedy landlord’. A case of sell of affect negative equity. This leads to less rental properties on the market, which leads to rent increases due to shortage in stock. A vicious circle with is not ideal for landlords and tenants.
With the benefits of being a landlord and investing in property diminishing, many are looking to sell.
That is the problem with the UK rental market. There is lack of supply, lots of people looking, rents rising in the mist of a cost-of-living crisis combined with huge gas and electricity price rises. Yet on that same podcast you hear of someone offering one year’s rent upfront and the landlord is still showing the property as they may get extra.
I have been in the property market for many years, advising clients on buying, selling and renting in London. I since founded Pets Lets, specialising in finding clients pet friendly rentals, which can be time consuming and you have to act quickly, and have personally witnessed a ‘crazy’ rental market. Normally you pay a holding deposit and that should take the property off the market. Most of the time it does, yet like with sales, people are being gazumped in rentals now.
There are proposed private rental reforms, but with changing Prime Ministers and Cabinets, there have been delays. These need to be introduced as soon as possible. Also, bear in mind that many private landlords are responsible and have buy to lets for their pensions. Many do look after tenants and like many industries, the behaviour of a few has a negative impact. The changes in legislation and interest rates have made it less worthwhile being a landlord in a property market where values are forecast to fall. On the other hand that is good news for first time buyers, however, interest rates have since increased.
Rental markets change. Landlords and tenants need each other. It was not so long ago during the first lockdown when it was a tenant’s market and landlords were having to accept lower offers from tenants. How things have changed. I do suspect that with the buy to let market less appealing to investors, we may experience current rental conditions for the foreseeable future.
Hello, I am Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets, a fellow landlord as well as dog owner.
I was a London estate agent and property search consultant for over 25 years. I founded Pets Lets having inherited 3 dogs from people, who’s landlords said no to pets. I have seen it all. I practice what I preach; a recent tenant rented with her dog in my London flat. She had relocated from the US to study. When the property was vacated there were no issues. In fact, she had improved the look with a touch of interior design skills. Throughout the tenancy period I was always asked before any changes were made to the property.
So many times, I have seen sharers ‘trash’ a place. I was in a lovely house in Wimbledon and my client who had an elderly beagle, had agreed the property. We were all shocked at the state in which it was left. There was even a door off the hinges. A classic case of the landlord based overseas and poorly managed. The client moved in following a refurbishment and has looked after it. A perfect property for them and their dog. A rare house on one floor, no stairs, great for their dog who was losing his sight and a secure back garden.
Both landlords and pet owners are equally passionate about the topic of renting with pets. For landlords, property is an investment/ pension and many pet owners see landlords as uncaring and greedy.
My mission is to educate both landlords and pet owners, so that the percentage of UK pet friendly rentals increases from the current dismal 10% (check figures) to a higher figure more proportionate to the 50% of the UK population who own a pet. 76% of millennials are pet parents. Saying no to pets or not even considering it, is losing out on a huge target market. Yes, it is a landlord market at the moment, but that can change. Markets in both sales and rentals fluctuate.
As I help clients with pets find pet friendly accommodation in London, that means I constantly work with estate agents and landlords. Sometimes, it is just a case of reassuring a landlord that our client is responsible, that their dog will not damage the property, or the cat will not claw the furniture.
From experience, I see how happy people are when we secure them a property. They are so grateful. They look after the property. Many extend their stay as they appreciate it and look after it as if it were their own home.
Relocating to London and other parts of the UK is not easy. Demand is high for rental properties and stock levels are low. You talk to some estate agents, and they are down to the last few properties. This article from Sky news, highlights the extreme competition. It is very much a landlord’s market with some even refusing to do any work to a property between tenancies. They know someone will just take it as is. Why incur extra costs.
By the time a property is on a portal, there are so many rushing to do a viewing. Some people offer on a rental by just seeing a video. Sometimes, the property is on for a few hours before it goes to sealed bids.
I have been in London property for over 25 years advising clients on buying, selling and finding rentals. With Pets Lets, letting to people with pets is my line of expertise. During that time, I have got to know a lot of estate agents. One senior agent said to me recently, ‘I have never seen such a ‘crazy’ market in all my time in the property industry’. That sums it up.
It has got to the point, if you ‘blink’, miss the estate agents call as you were in a meeting, the property is gone. The portals are great, but you have to move quickly. Some properties just don’t make the portals. Why wait for the photography when you have the keys when you know you have a backlog of potential tenants.
A tip when talking to property professionals; if the property has been let, ask what else is in the ‘pipeline’ / coming on to the market. Try and get ahead of the competition.
Tenant demand in the UK and London is the highest it has been since records began in 2011. The number of people seeking privately rented homes has grown consistently throughout the course of the Covid pandemic. For every property there are on average 11 potential tenants.
Rental stock is down 38% compared to last year and estate agents ae down to their last properties.
In Q1 of 2022, 62% of landlords reported a big increase in tenant demand, compared to only 16% of landlords in Q1 of 2020. This article from The Negotiator outlines the big changes in the private rental sector.
An interesting article outlining Why the UK rental market is in chaos, which describes it as a ‘pressure cooker’. The UK rental market was already extremely competitive. Now you have people who can no longer buy with the current mortgage market and having to rent. In London, listing are receiving on average over 80 enquiries, up from 16 enquiries in September 2019. There are so many people looking for a rental property, that some agents just don’t list them on the property portals.
At Pets Lets, we specialise in finding pet friendly rentals for clients. The majority of people are looking to move to London. Some are relocating from the US with their dogs and cats as well as from Canada, South Africa amongst other countries. The common theme amongst our clients, is they cannot believe how difficult it is to find pet friendly accommodation.
A growing trend amongst younger generations is to rent with their pet whilst studying. For example, we find a lot of pet friendly students have house cats or small dogs.
We have witnessed many sealed bids with some people putting in huge offers over the asking price. How do people compete, you can’t.
Also, landlords are giving notice to tenants to get a new one it at a higher rent. There is a lack of ‘loyalty’ and tenants are pushing up prices. Even some estate agents put properties on higher prices, just to test the market. When they achieve those prices, the rental level is pushed up even more in the area.