The Changing UK Pet Rental Market

15.09.2021 01:26 pm

“We tell landlords they have to consider tenants with pets. Demand is too high to ignore. We see this changing a lot in 2022 with more pet friendly properties coming on. Competition is tough though against people without pets.” North London Agent, August 2021. ”We see an increasing number of landlords saying yes to a small dog or house cat and being won over by cute images.” Pets Lets Relocation Consultants

Did you also know that after lockdown, 80% of prospective tenants asked that no pets clauses be removed from tenancy agreements as they were thinking of adopting a pet. That figure has now dropped to as little as 10% as many landlords refused to remove the clause and open their doors to renting to people with pets.

A recent article in the Evening Standard highlighted how 2 in 5 UK households bought a puppy over lockdown. Look at it another way; that is 40% of UK households. A huge pool of potential tenants.

Also according to the {Pet Manufacturers Association](https://www.pfma.org.uk/news/pfma-releases-latest-pet-population-data), by 2025, it is predicted that 59% of millennials and generation z will have pets. The UK is increasingly becoming like mainland Europe, where an increasing number of younger people are having to rent. People can no longer afford to get on the housing ladder.

If individual as well as portfolio landlords do not start to consider allowing pets, they will lose out to an increasing number of build to rent companies as well as big companies investing in the UK residential property sector. Lloyds Bank is heavily investing in property and has set up a separate company called Citra Living. They see the evolving needs of tenants, including those with pets.

Landlords have become complacent. Yes, competition is high, and rentals are going quickly across the UK, which makes it harder for people with pets. However, this is due to pent up demand from lockdown and how people just want to move and have some outside space like a garden, balcony or patio. Also bear in mind that the property market is cyclical, whether it is sales or rentals. There will come a time when rental supply outstrips demand. Whole building are being built by build to rent companies such as Fizzy Living, Essential Living Homes and Quintain Living as well as larger companies such as Grey Star that allow pets and create communities for people to enjoy with events for all such as Doga.

It is all about supply versus demand

  • With a huge amount of pet owners across the UK and the increase in the number of build to rent pet friendly developments, regardless of the government saying no to changing the 2019 Tenant Fees Act, supply will gradually increase. Living with your dog or cat or other pets, will become more of the ‘norm’. Moving to a new place or city in particular, can be lonely. What a great way to instantly meet like-minded people all under one roof. Why rent a small flat and be all alone? It is a personal choice, but at least people are increasingly getting a lifestyle choice. Another option is renting a room. Keeps costs down and you are not alone. That is why companies like Spare room have become popular with younger generations.

    How people’s mindsets have changed in the UK

  • With older generations it was all about owning your own ’brick & mortar’. Get on the housing ladder, take out a mortgage. That was just a part of life.
  • With younger generations, house prices have ‘gone through the roof’, mortgages have strict criteria’s and are not so easy to get. Also, people no longer want to have the financial pressure of a mortgage. They would prefer to enjoy life more, go on holidays as well as go out and see friends.
  • Another trend for younger generations is how much they spend on their pets [Pet Spending Statistics](https://www.statista.com/statistics/285702/pets-and-pet-food-weekly-uk-household-expenditure-2012-by-age/add link). Pets are people’s children. 2 in 5 people prefer their ‘fur kids’. When moving home, why on earth would you rent without your pets.
  • As mentioned above, people want to be sociable. Pets and people meeting each other, taking their dogs for a walk close by. Lifestyles are changing. People want to live life more and be happy. Companies are catering towards this more sociable style of tenancies which includes pets.
  • Finding a pet friendly rental to many is more important than the location. At Pets Lets, we have a Relocation Service where we find clients pet friendly accommodation. The initial enquiries are mostly ‘vague’ when it comes to locations, it is all about their pets being allowed by the landlord. That explains why tenants with pets stay longer; they appreciate pet friendly landlords and are more likely to look after the property. The lifestyle principles are the same. Pets otherwise known as ‘fur kids’, come first in many people lives just like their own children. Families are close knit units. There are so many articles on Pets and Mental health which highlight the positive effects pets have on mental health.

Why landlords and estate agent’s mindsets must change

  • Pets are here to stay. This is not a ‘trend’ that will come and go. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, goldfish, snakes, lizards, rabbits etc are ingrained in society. The UK is a pet loving nation. The common ‘theme’ is that pets bring happiness/ joy to people’s lives. Mental health is a big issue and pets, even stroking a pets is proven to relax people. Unless there is a building no pets clause, you will lose out on a huge pool of potential tenants, so why not try renting to pet onwers. Companies investing in the lettings sector already offer far more to tenants with pets. Can individual landlords afford long void periods?
  • Things change. Landlords and freeholders are to set in their ways because it has become too easy with a ‘captive market’. Similarly for estate agents; stop saying no automatically when people mention the word ‘pet’. Too few agents are willing to go that ‘extra mile’ and ask their landlords if they will consider pets or say how about a small dog or a house cat?
  • Move on from this misconception that all dogs chew the furniture, and all cats claw the carpets. Nine times out of 10, pets are well behaved and sleep most of the day. Pet owners are responsible, and a lot heavily invest in dog training.
  • Children leave handprints on walls, use paints in properties, people spill drinks and have parties. Do you ask potential tenants for school behavioural references or how often people like to entertain? The answer is no. Yet, a pet cv is becoming the norm. I have 3 teenagers and a dog and I know who makes the most mess and fail to clean up after themselves! My dog will let you know when she needs to go outside. My teenagers have a problem finding the dishwasher, keeping the bathroom clean and the ’floordrobe’ is the latest trend!

The future of renting in the UK with and without pets

  • Renting is not just about paying a landlord their monthly rent for a place to live. Build to rent operators are changing that. People want communities where they can meet other like-minded persons and pet owners. 8 Water Street and Apo Barking are examples of pet friendly communities that are successfully up and running.
  • With mental health being such an issue with people including children post lockdown, you may find people ‘shocked’ by landlords who are too ‘narrow-minded’ to consider pets or take advantage of pet owners by charging

To summarise the UK pet friendly rental market

It is hard to ignore all the ‘doom & gloom’ you read in social media. Yes, finding a rental with your dog or cat in the UK is not easy. However, the supply is growing. Like any business, portfolio landlords see a business opportunity. That help pet owners find places to live and that puts pressure on existing landlords to start considering renting to tenants with pets or lose out to a huge number of potential tenants as well have periods of your property being empty and losing income.

I am the founder of Pets Lets, which came about because I have witnessed, working in the property sector, how UK landlords say no to pets. I also inherited 3 dogs from people whose landlords said no to pets.

Pets Lets is a UK pet friendly property portal which also has a relocation service. If you cannot find a property on the portal, pet owners can email us for help.

We have also set up a Pets & Property Tips Facebook Group to offer professional advice to pet owners looking to rent with their pets in the UK.