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The Pets Lets co-founders have been on site at. In fact, the site is owned by a fellow dog lover who we met locally. Biscuit befriended his dogs and we began speaking.
Whether a dog friendly rental is a long, short or holiday let, landlords who themselves have dogs/ pets understand what is required to make it a dog friendly environment, which works well for the dogs as well as the owners and their families. In fact, the whole site here is off grid. There are logs for bbq’s and heat in the evening or a wood burning stove in the yurts during the winter, as well as solar power for the hot water and lighting in the common parts. Water comes from a borehole and is filtered. Tastes great.
Glamping in yurts at The Fir Hill does exactly that. The yurts come in different sizes with differing designs. There are the couples yurts, the bigger family yurts, of which the majority are dog friendly. They are so peaceful and in the heat, the temperature was just right.
You have your own kitchenette with a small gas stove, with a large outside area with chairs and wood fire to cook off. You have your own supply of logs, and they give you a cooler box for your food with ice packs which you replace on a daily basis.
Renting with a dog in London and throughout the UK, should be simple. We are a dog loving nation. Pubs and cafes as well as department stores and boutiques say yes to dogs. The clue is outside the door, a water bowl, a refreshment before your owner walks in. Even my local pharmacy offers customers with dogs a large gravy bone. Funnily, it can get quite busy with dog’s owners. What a great marketing tool though! Dogs mirror children. There is a groomer, they have their own chic boutiques with accessories and outfits. There is ‘dog fashion’ and trends. You see vitamins for dogs advertised on the London underground and on the back of a bus. Dog chews and toys are a huge market and there are articles about the best chews and toys for your pups.
It is a well known fact that people, particularly the younger generations see their pets as substitute children. Makes sense. They greet you when you come through the door, demand little and offer love and affection and companionship for many. Having 3 teenagers and a dog, who is most happy to see you? Tough one, the wagging tail versus the ‘grunt’ and the demand for ‘snacks’. Trends are changing. People have a dog or cat first, a call to being a parent, before having a child. Pets are part of the family, so not having them live with you is ‘criminal’.
Pets in general, whether it is a dog, cat, guinea pig or rabbit, are great for the family and do help children’s development. Pets and mental health is another positives for dogs and cats. Stroking is proven to relax people and having a dog or cat or being visited by one, brings joy and companionship.
Yet with all these positives of having a pet, why is it so difficult to rent with a dog or cat? Yes there are the latest pet rental reforms, which have been suggested, yet there is a long way to go in the legislative process and our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has just resigned so all is in ‘limbo’ with the summer recess in 2 weeks.
In January 2021, The UK Government released figures of only 7% of Landlords accepting pets. An incredible statistic considering there was a 120% increase in the number of UK pet owners over lockdown.
You don’t have to be good at maths to realise that the figures do not work with 7% of landlords saying yes to pets versus 50% of the population owning a pet. Over 3.2m pets were bought over lockdown according to an article from the BBC. That is a sharp increase in UK pet ownership, with little change in the pet friendly rental sector.
Bearing in mind a huge demand for renting with pets in the UK, it has taken until June 2022, for the UK Government to come up with a long awaited rental reform paper including lets with pets. This is great news and there is certainly a positivity that rental legislation surrounding pets is moving in the right direction. The proposed pet rental reform is all about:
Making it easier for tenants to have much-loved pets in their homes by giving all tenants the right to request a pet in their house, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.
Whilst pet rental legislation is moving in the right direction, there is a still a lot of opposition from private landlords and portfolio property owners. Some have had bad experiences renting to people with pets and others have heard a lot of negativities. You only have to look at some of the landlord Facebook groups to see there is a lot of opposition; you see stories about cats scratching carpets and curtains and people not picking up after their dogs in private and communal patios and gardens.
Another simple option to placate landlords and convince them to accept pets is by increasing the deposit cap for pet owners from 5 weeks to say 8 weeks.
The deposit cap is something that landlords complain is a huge restriction in case a pet ‘damages’ a property. An ‘urban myth’ bearing in mind how we see many professional sharers ‘trash’ properties. So it makes sense to increase the deposit cap for people renting with a dog or cat. You can also ask pet owners to get insurance cover which is a suggestion of the latest rental reforms.
However, having spoken to estate agents and landlords about pet insurance being a solution, their concern is that people will pay the first month or two and then cancel their direct debits. By that time, they are in the property, what can a landlord do. The trouble with letting with pets and property owners, is that the ‘negative feelings’ towards each other are so ingrained, it takes time to educate.
For landlords their properties are their pensions/ investments; I have come across dog owners who sympathise with fellow pet owners and the difficulty in renting with dogs, yet they do not allow dogs in their own rental properties. A case of head over heart.
That is why the changes will take time. All the news is positive, but as pet owners who rent, we must make sure that the 1% of irresponsible pet owners who rent, change their ways as that is giving tenants with pets a ‘bad name’. From experience, more landlords are open to renting to people with cats and dogs in the UK. Some are prevented by the building head lease, some are happy to give it a go with a small dog or a house cat, depending on the tenant profile and length of tenancy.
The positive signs are certainly there. Landlords realise that renting with pets is a huge market. More estate agents are suggesting to their clients that they consider pets, Chesterton’s has its own separate pet friendly listings page. That is also a good sign as some agencies were too ‘afraid’ to suggest people with pets as tenants, for fear of losing the property instruction. That is changing.
Market conditions also influence renting with pets
Lettings and sales markets are influenced by supply versus demand. Landlords are more likely to chose a tenant without a pet if the offers are very similar. Sometimes, and we have experienced this at Pets Lets, where the pet cv has ‘won over’ the landlord:
”There were 3 other good offers on the table but the dog CV sold it to them- I quote ‘ the cutest thing that they have seen.” London estate agent, 2022
Whether you are relocating to the UK with or without a pet, renting a UK property can be complicated.
We are not just talking about the ‘red tape’ of visas and pet travel companies with the extra requirements of vaccinations. There is the other dilemma of I don’t want my pet to be put in hold, shall I fly to Paris instead of London? Something a lot of people ask about and like everything with relocating takes meticulous planning. There are companies that will pick you up with your pets from Paris and drive you through the Euro Tunnel, have a look at Pet Moves to find out more. A chauffeur service for you and your pet(s).
We are thinking solely about finding dog or cat friendly rentals in London or in other parts of the UK. Renting in a city with a pet is that bit more complicated, with London being the topmost complicated pets and property destination.
Sometimes even the landlord does not know if the building will allow a pet. They are happy to allow a pet and yet they have no idea the ‘head lease’ which are the building rules and regulations says no to pets. Yet, the neighbour has a dog, how can that be?
Simple reason is that nobody has objected, and concierge is not concerned. However, if you wanted to get pets clause (which is the part which legally allows you to rent with a pet), no estate agency could put that in the agreement.
Have a look at the Pets Lets pets & property tips page page which gives useful advice as well as examples of pet cv’s and landlord references etc.
Pets are people’s modern-day children. You read as well as hear the term ‘fur babies’. They are part of the family. It is all about lets with pets. People and their pets are inseparable.
I just spoke to a dog owner, who was ‘misled’ by a big an estate agency into signing a tenancy agreement without a pet’s clause. The first version of the tenancy agreement had a pet’s clause. When the tenant tried to get out of it, they argued that large costs would be incurred, so the tenant felt ‘forced’ to sign another version without the pet’s clause.
Whilst moving into their so called ‘London pet friendly property’, the landlord had no idea they had a dog. After a lengthy discussion, it has been agreed the tenant could stay until they found something asap.
The estate agency has subsequently called the tenant and said, ‘get out or get rid of the dog’. The fault clearly lies with the estate agency as they did not initially check that the property was dog friendly. When they discovered it did not allow pets, they still tried to hold the tenant to account.
There are an increasing number of lets with pets stories that we come across at Pets Lets of agencies plus landlords not double-checking the head lease and whether there is a no pets clause. Just because you see a dog in the reception, it does not mean dogs are allowed in the building. Sometimes a concierge will ‘turn a blind eye’. That is not the same as being legally allowed to rent with a dog or cat. A pets clause represents your ‘legal protection’.
This interesting article this week on the BBC website highlights the need for a CV for children and dogs The market is ‘crazy’. Properties are being rented in hours or a day or two.
This article ‘spells out’ that even tenants with children and pets are at a disadvantage with landlords. Some landlords see pets and children as causing damage to their property. It is ‘easy’ to say no to a pet. It is more difficult and not ‘politically correct’ to say the same about someone’s children. In fact, it would be seen as ‘wrong’ to question a child’s behaviour.