“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi
The UK is seen globally as one of the pet friendliest nations.
Half the UK population have a pet and over lockdown an extra 3.2 million people in the UK adopted a pet. This is a huge statistic. It represents a change in modern day life, with increasing number of people having ‘fur babies’. Dogs and cats are people’s children.
Yet, according to 2021 UK Government statistics, only 7% of landlords currently advertise their properties as being pet friendly. This is such a small proportion of pet friendly rentals. You don’t have to be a mathematician to realise this will become a huge issue and have consequences. Post lockdown, pets are already being abandoned and one of the main reasons is because landlords say no to people looking to rent with pets.
Nobody questions your children when you are looking to rent. School and behaviour references are not required. Yet children have crayons and paints and can damage a property.
When it comes to renting with your dog or cat, otherwise know as your fur baby, you need to provide a pet cv, a reference from a previous landlords to say whilst renting with your pet, that no damage was caused to a property. In addition, landlords ask for funds up front, at least 3-6 months, because of this ‘mythical perception’ that dogs and cats can wreak mayhem in a property.
At Pets Lets, we specialise in finding UK pet friendly rentals for clients. We offer a pet friendly relocation service, so we come across all kinds of situations. For example, we recently had a landlord ask for 12 months rent up front from our client despite the property being unfurnished with wooden flooring. We were ‘scratching our heads’ to see what could possibly be damaged apart from a small area of worn carpet, which our client offered to cover with rugs. Their pets cv’s and pet friendly references were impeccable. For more information on this, have a look at The Dogs Trust, lets with pets information website.
Renting with pets: A Highly Emotive topic
The topic of renting with cats and dogs in the UK is truly a topic full of passion, often dividing landlords and tenants. Estate agents find themselves in between a rock & a hard place. Do you suggest to a landlord that they should consider renting to people with pets, or do you say nothing and just be instructed on the property? Some agents are happy to advise tenants with pets, others just say no, cannot help you. *The agency rationale is that a tenant without a pet is just easier, less hassle. Let the property and move on, which all relates to the agency commission structure. Winner takes all.
Renting with pets: What are the main issues landlords have?
A bad experience or heard of ‘horror stories’ from other landlords who rented their properties to someone with a cat or dog. You just read some of the Facebook groups to see how emotive this topic is. You even get landlords that have dogs, who sympathise with fellow pet owners, yet when it comes to their own property portfolios are happy to say no to pets.
How a few irresponsible pet owners affect the many. We found a great property for a client recently. They loved it. We offered the full price just to get it. We had been informed it was pet friendly and our client had the most pawsome references. The landlord responded by saying they would only accept a cat as they had had a bad experience with another pet owner they had rented the property to. It is so difficult to change that mindset. It spoils it for the majority of people renting with pets who are responsible
Perception. A landlord can be anyone. It can be someone who is just renting out their own home, so there is that emotion tie, to the professional landlord who looks at figures and returns on investment. However, they are all people who walk the streets, parks and commons. They see that some dog owners do not pick after their dogs or leave poo bags lying about. In the back of the heads, they are of course thinking, how awful or I nearly trod in that, and no way I am going to allow people with dogs in my property.
Damage. This is one of a landlords biggest concerns. Will a dog chew the furniture or will a cat scratch the flooring and carpets? These are big as well as potentially expensive concerns and I can only take a 5 weeks deposit cap. How is that going to cover any damage? A massive issue in pet friendly rental legislation and they should increase the number of weeks with pets, perhaps to 8 weeks for peace of minds for landlords. This would then increase the percentage of pet friendly landlords. This article outlines the rules and regulations about renting with pets.
Allergies. Some landlords are concerned that dogs and cats can infest a property with fleas or shed hair all over a property, so that any future tenant with allergies will be unable to live there. Properties can be deep cleaned after a tenancy to overcome this concern. Many responsible pet owners offer this at the end of the tenancy. In France, the landlord can ‘come after a tenant’ if the property has been flea infested even after they have moved out and the deposit has been returned.
What tenants want in a rental property
This article outlines what tenants in 2022 are looking from in a rental property. Funnily enough, as well as location, safety & security, close transport links, a garden or patio, parking, as well as be in good order, pet friendly is right up there. Looking for a pet friendly rental in the UK, whether it is London, Manchester or in a more rural setting, is not a niche market anymore. Demand is far outstripping supply. Landlords need to adapt with the times, or they will lose out.
Benefits of renting to people with pets
Tenants with pets are so grateful to find a lovely property with a decent landlord. So much so, that they will stay longer and really look after a property. They are more likely to treat it as their own home and take extra measures to prevent any damage. More people work from home, so it is far less likely that a dog will be left home all day.
Anyway, wear and tear is part of the course when it comes to renting a property. It can be deducted from tax.
Yet, you see so many properties that have been ‘trashed’ by sharers or people have on the side sublet rooms and prevented the managing agents from carrying out a routine inspection.
In fact, people renting with dogs and cats are right up in terms of responsibility with young professional who are rarely at home. Rental markets change. Suddenly tenants are spoilt for choice and because the answer is no to pets, you have written off a huge percentage of potential renters. The property is empty and the landlord is covering the monthly mortgage with interest rates going up.
Landlords are ‘risk adverse’ and not open to ‘adapting’. Why change something if the return is good. Fair point, but there will come a time when you get left behind by other landlords or build to rent companies and pet friendly blocks, who allow pets. Blockbuster is a great example of a leading company that failed to adapt to the internet. The name is forgotten, and everyone talks of companies like Netflix. It can happen to an individual as well as well as a successful company.
This article was written by Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets, who has over 25 years experience as an estate agent as well as a London search agent.
Pets Lets is a UK pet friendly property portal where landlords consider pets. There is no obligation to say yes to pets; just give it a go renting to tenants with pets. Consider a tenant with a small dog or a house cat. If the property is pet friendly and the building, if not freehold, allows pets, then open your door to a huge UK pet friendly property market.
For pet owners, based in the UK as well as overseas, we also offer a Relocation Service. We go through what you are looking for, come up with suggestions, source pet friendly properties through contacts, as well as negotiate on the rent and make sure all is in order with the tenancy agreement and includes a pets clause.
At Pets Lets we are so passionate about renting with pets, that we set up the Pets & Property Tips Facebook Group to offer fellow pet owners advice about the UK pet friendly rental market.