What do I need to know about renting in the UK with my dog or cat? According to a Pets Mag poll, the UK is a nation of dog and cat lovers, which of course came first and second. Surprisingly the guinea pig and hamster came 29th and 30th very strange, as you see them in many households with younger children.
Everywhere you turn, there are adverts, TV programmes featuring all kinds of dogs and cats. Over the years in the UK we have grown up with the iconic Andrex puppy advertising toilet paper and running off and having fun making a mess. Another iconic dog mascot, dating back to 1961, is the Dulux dog , a beloved UK icon. This shows how much we are a pet loving nation. Brands have been built off the back of dogs and cats. Why because they appeal to us and endear us to the brands. A dog has nothing to do with paint or toilet paper. It is more the sweet and ‘playful’ element that makes it work. The naughty Andrex puppy.
That is why the UK pet population has suddenly accelerated withAn extra 3.2 million pet owners over lockdown which also ties in with [pets and mental health(https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/10/pet-dog-cat-mental-health-lockdown/). Pets make people happy and forget the everyday stresses.
There is no doubt with lockdown and in general, people can get very lonely. The highest rate of loneliness tends to come in bigger cities, in particular London. Research has proven that having a cat or dog brings joy to people. It gives them a companion. Gets people out the front door to take the dog for a walk. Before you know it you are socialising with fellow dog owners.
A family friend lost his wife last year and he was given a labradoodle puppy by his immediate family. They really thought having a puppy would cheer him and prevent him from being lonely. I saw him the other day. He said in the last 8 months he has met so many people and made some great friends just by going on local walks with his dog called, Duu. It brought a smile to his face just talking about it.
The Pet Friendly Rental Landscape. Is 2022 the Year of the Pet?
Will this be the year when the stalemate between landlords and pet owners begins to ‘thaw’? Talking to agents on a daily basis, some feel that landlords are relaxing when it comes to allowing pets in the properties. How can you ignore it when half the population owns a pet and many more people are working from home.
With people working from home, there is less of an issue of the dog being left alone all day. That means a far lesser chance of damage as they will be taken for walks.
Working from home means that people are more responsible in keeping the property tidy. That includes people renting with pets.
Working from home means that people will stay longer as it is their office in addition to being a home. Who wants the hassle of re-setting up your broadband if you are happily settled. Extend your pet friendly rental agreement. Hard to find, why change.
People renting in with pets are more likely to pay a rent increase just to stay. It means more to them as they appreciate a pet friendly landlord.
A happy tenant, with or without a pet, makes a happy landlord. Could the ability to rent with your dog in the UK become easier? Will landlords be less concerned about cats clawing carpets and dogs chewing furniture? Damage is the main issue when it comes to UK pet friendly rentals in a landlords mind. It takes timeto change this ‘stereotypical’ mindset. All it takes is a few irresponsible dog or cat owners to take you a few steps backwards.
We come across lots of landlords where they say no to renting with pets due to previous bad experiences or they have heard of pets damaging properties. Yet landlords forget that sharers, adults and children create damage. You don’t ask a family if their children will be painting or using crayons in the property!
Recently we found a ‘pawsome’ property for our client in Central London with their house cat. We even offered a lot more, yet the property went to a party who paid less, simply because they were not renting with a dog or cat. We missed out by a ‘whisker’.
** At Pets Lets, we always feel there are ways around it**. Perhaps the growing trend is to go for unfurnished properties. If something gets damaged, it does not belong to the landlord. If the carpet has been scratched in a place, the landlord holds a 5 weeks deposit, which should cover the damage. The same can be said for spilt drinks or general mess. Landlords have to account for some wear and tear.
This article about Relocating from the US to the UK with a pet, is really informative and offers some useful tips on moving to the UK with your dog or cat. There are so many extra points one has to account for when relocating to any country with a pet. The UK has lots of pet relocation policies which you can work through; it does not prepare you for the ‘minefield’ of renting with pets, finding a property that will allow your pets, only to then lose out to tenants without pets. Landlords and agents like an easy life. Rental properties go quickly, you have to prepare and be decisive.
Will landlords begin to let pets indoors, is the main theme of this article. It highlights that there is a ‘gap’ in the market with few pet friendly rentals in the UK. Landlords are investors; if there is a ‘gap’ in the market and pet owners are prepared to pay a bit more to have pet friendly accommodation, why not give it a go? Be open minded to change and open your doors to pets. Maybe begin with a tenant with a small dog or a cat. See how it goes. If successful and property layout/ size permitting, perhaps allow people with one or more pets, as long as they can prove to be responsible, with say a previous landlord pet reference/ Pet CV.
I, Russell Hunt, wrote this article, as the Founder of Pets Lets, a UK pet friendly property portal as well as offering clients a Relocation Service.
Having grown up in London and adopted three dogs from people whose landlords said no, it is astonishing how little landlords have changed over the years. There is still a ‘blanket’ no to pets and still many large buildings have no pets clauses. Hence the emergence of Pets Lets. Legislation about allowing pets in rental accommodation has not changed. There have been suggestions by the UK Government, but nothing has been legally enforced.
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.