The UK is a pet loving nation. Around 50% of the UK population owns a pet, whether it be a dog, cat, guinea pig, snake, rabbit or bird. Of course, you want to have your pet live under the same roof. They are part of the family. So why in the UK, does the combination of pets & property not work properly.
Some estate agents are happy to help tenants with cats and dogs. At Pets Lets we speak to estate agents all the time. Some agents who do not have a dog or cat, do not get it. Their colleagues who perhaps grew up with dogs, understand the need to find pet friendly accommodation and will go that ‘extra mile’ to help. Sometimes it really does come down to who picks up the phone at an agency.
The Negotiator Magazine highlights the changes the government is trying to bring in regards pet friendly rentals in the UK.
At the moment, the landlord can say no to a tenant who is residing in the property and wishes to have a dog or cat. The landlord has final say and a pet’s clause must be inserted into the tenancy agreement.
The suggested model, requires landlords to give a good reason why, say a dog, should not be allowed. A landlord or letting agent would ‘have to prove’ a pet would cause damage to a property.
With rising housing costs and unaffordability of getting on the housing ladder a growing issue, people are renting for longer. A growing proportion of people rent with pets who bring them joy, happiness and improve mental health during difficult times
So why are some Landlords not pet friendly
I would say landlords and some estate agents are not pet friendly. Why is there an issue with many in the property sector about allowing a dog or cat into a rental property?
You must remember for many landlords, a buy to let or investment property is about return on investment, whether it be revenue or capital growth. People do not like to be ‘dictated’ to as to what they should or should not do. The buy to let property sector has taken some ‘beating’ from the government over the last few years, with the inability to offset mortgages against tax and the increase in stamp duty. Yes, the rental market has done well over the years, but to many, the government is again ‘forcing’ something upon landlords.
We talk to agents and landlords all the time and just like dog and cat owners, there is some real passion from landlords. Even landlords and some agents who have a dog feel that there should be choice and not forced.
The 2019 Tenant Fees Act
Like many things the government does not think things through properly before they are implemented. This Act is a case in point. Capping deposits to 5 weeks has put off so many landlords to allowing pets and will continue to be a huge barrier. Because of this act, extra fees cannot be enforced. As this bill is new, the government is not inclined to change it.
A property is an investment. Landlords are looking for more financial security before opening their doors to pets.
Here are some reasons that put off Landlords allowing pets:
A bad experience We come across a lot of landlords who have tried to rent to people with pets. They tell of bad experiences where the cat has scratched the furniture and carpets, or the owner has not picked up after their dog indoors and the flat had to be renovated. This is the trouble; one bad experience puts people off. Pet owners can be considerate and responsible but all it takes it for one person to ruin the perception of renting to people with dogs or cats.
Poor reputation This overlaps with the point above. However, one annoyed landlord passes it on to fellow property owners. Landlord Facebook Groups are full of landlord complaining about pets and how they ‘trash’ properties and irresponsible pet owners. There is a lot of passion about the subject of pet friendly rentals. Landlords understand it is a growing market, yet on the other hand, they have either had to or don’t want to have to spend money on renovations.
2019 Tenant Fees Act Deposit Cap The introduction of this act by the Government has put even more landlords off. 5 weeks deposit does not in the eyes of landlords cover the damage that pets can cause. It is now illegal to ask for bigger deposits which creates a huge hurdle for pet owners when looking for a pet friendly rental in the UK.
Religious Reasons Some overseas landlords who own portfolios of rental properties, regardless of whether they visit their properties or not, view pets as ‘dirty’ as per their religious beliefs. So, when asked to consider tenants with pets, the answer is no full stop.
Head leases There are some landlords who would allow pets but the building lease forbids any animals. Even though they own the leasehold property, the freeholder who owns the building can override allowing people to rent with pets.
Solution to renting with pets in the UK
Many pet owners would pay a bigger deposit if it meant securing a pet friendly property. The government should amend the 2019 Tenant Fees Act when it comes to pets. Increase the deposit cap to 7 or 8 weeks and a landlord should be able to insist on a professional deep clean to the property when vacating the property. As a relocation agent you look for solutions for your clients.
Landlords have had bad experiences with pets ‘trashing’ their properties. I hear and read it all the time. Even though the majority of pet owners are responsible, it just takes a few owners to give dogs and cats in properties a bad name.
Pet owners need to ‘take the personal feelings’ out of it more and look to understand the other side. When you remove the ‘passion’, an agreement is more likely to be found.
I was an estate agent many years back. I know from experience how they work and can spot the ‘signs’. Dare I say it, but some agents can also ‘block’ pet owners. To some, asking the client to allow a dog or cat is too much of a hassle and they would rather find a tenant without a pet. However, other agents are far more understanding.
We offer a pet friendly relocation service cover London & The Home Counties, such as Surrey, Kent, Sussex, Berkshire, Hampshire, Essex, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
Pets & Property are what we specialise in. We are so passionate about people renting with pets, that we have set up a Pets & Property Facebook Group.
It is all about educating landlords about the positives of allowing pets as well as offering advice to pet owners. We relocate clients with pets from around the world to London and the Home Counties. We know how important pets are to people. Travelling with pets can be stressful. We work with pet travel partners to take the stress
Here is an interesting article from[Pet Plan}(https://www.petplan.co.uk/pet-information/blog/checklist-for-moving-home-with-cat-or-dog/) which outlines how moving home can stress dogs and cats.
Pets Lets, is a pet friendly property portal, where all landlords consider pets, covering London and the Home Counties.
We also offer a pet friendly relocation service for clients with pets. We have successfully relocated pet owners from all over the world as well as people based in the UK.
“I can only highly recommend Russell. My dog Pichu and me love our new home. Russell really knows his job and got me exactly what I wished for. He has been extremely supportive during the move and I am beyond thankful for everything he did. He truly made moving to another country as easy as it can get for me.“ 2020
Russell is the Founder of Pets Lets, and a staunch advocate for increasing the number of pet friendly landlords.