Prejudice is a big word. It is all about attitudes affecting judgements which leads to making rash and unfounded decisions.
Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride & Prejudice is about the repercussions of hasty judgements within a rigid society, with little room for compromise. This echoes many modern-day UK Landlords who are themselves prejudicial when it comes to renting with pets. Some make rash judgements and say blanket no to pets without looking at the facts.
A fellow landlord had a bad experience with cats clawing the curtains or dogs chewing the furniture. Stories that have circulated amongst property professionals for years. So much so they become engrained in the landlords ‘mindsets’.
Just like companies you must evolve. Some leading brands ignored the rise of the internet, and the likes of Netflix and Amazon took over. The same for landlords. You cannot ignore the rise of the build to rent companies. The rental market is becoming more ‘corporate’. Big companies such as Legal & General and John Lewis are branching out from their main sectors into residential property. Large commercial property companies such as Land Securities, moved into residential with the regeneration of the Victoria station area in London. One thing they have in common, they consider pets. Requirements do vary; some have dog weight restrictions and some breeds of dogs are not considered.
Private landlords must ‘adapt’ or be left behind. With the cost-of-living crisis, interest rate rises and the inability to offset mortgages against tax, the ‘tide has turned’ against the private rental sector who don’t have the ‘deep pockets’ of large companies.
During the Mini budget melt down there was a 55% drop in the number of mortgage products. Thanks to this governmental ‘blip’, interest rates have increased which will mean some landlords will be in negative equity when they have to re-mortgage over the next year or so.
In addition, the lack of capital growth mixed with much lower yields and restrictive legislation, has led to a large reduction of new landlords entering the buy to let market. Stock levels have dropped and number of tenants who cannot get on the housing ladder have increased. Increased demand versus reduced property rental stock levels.
Over 50% of the UK population has a pet
- This article in Landlord Today says it is ‘time to talk about pet friendly properties’.
- When many build to rent companies are pet friendly, how long can private landlords ‘buck the trend’.
- Damage and financial losses are no longer an excuse when it comes to saying no to tenants with pets. 99% of pet owners are responsible. Many dogs are trained and have valid qualifications. More people work from home now. Since lockdown, gone are the days of people in the office 5 days a week with the dog or cat left alone.
Renting with pets facts
- As a pets & property professional, from my own experience, I can say that most pet owners look after properties far more than sharers.
- I practice what I ‘preach’ and rent to tenants with pets when the building permits.
- Having 3 teenagers and a dog, my four-legged friend sleeps most of the time. When it comes to damage, there is no comparison. Teenagers win comfortably.
- Longevity. Pet owners stay longer as they appreciate their home.
- I have witnessed many people renting with pets offering to pay for any damage as they care and would like a good reference. Can the same be said for tenants in general?
- As mentioned above, many people work from home. Someone is there to look after their pets.
Only 10% of landlords are pet friendly
- Why not be an entrepreneurial landlord? Be ahead of the competition. Try letting to tenants with pets.
- Private landlords are seen as a last ‘bastion’ of saying no to pets. There are a growing number of pet friendly cafes and shops. Since this article more big names are allowing dogs into their shops. Even our local chemist has dog bones for customers dogs. Really simple; say no to customers with dogs and you lose business. People will be putting off coming in. The same for landlords, you are saying no to potentially good tenants without even considering it.
An important tip for private landlords
- When you instruct an estate agent, say you will consider tenants with pets, or a small dog or a cat. Some agents are too ‘afraid’ to ask for fear of losing the instruction. If the building allows pets, try it. You may be pleasantly surprised by the calibre of dog and cat owners.
- If you are nervous about allowing a pet owner, why not insert a 6 month break clause, just in case? I know longevity is important; however, if you have a responsible pet owner, they will look after the place for years!
Advice from a Landlord and dog owner
- Both pet owners and landlords are passionate about issue of renting with pets. I believe, there has to be a more balanced approach and remove some of the ‘emotion’.
- 76% of millennials are pet parents. That is a huge percentage and this article was posted in 2020! Generation Z love pets and many see them as their children!
- Looking at the above statistics, these are key target rental segments for private landlords for years to come. Owning a pet is no longer niche.
We have set up the Pets & Lets Group on LinkedIn to sensibly discuss this very important issue of renting with dogs and cats.
This article was written by Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets, a UK pet friendly property portal offering properties where landlords consider pets as well as a pet friendly relocation and buying service.
Prior to setting up Pets Lets, Russell was a London property search consultant for over 25 years for clients looking to buy and rent in the Capital.
Click here to see useful pet cv’s and pets clauses, as well as other pet friendly rental tools on the Pets Lets Portal.
The pawsome pictures can be credited to Pooch and Pineapple