16.06.2020 12:10 pm

opportunities to socialise. Whether to are travelling on the underground, shopping or walking in the parks and commons, if you have a dog, people will come up and talk to you. It opens up a whole new London pet friendly world.

Having a pet can have such a positive impact on an individual’s quality of life and wellbeing. Pet owners make 15% fewer visits to a doctor and are 60% more likely than non–pet owners to get to know people in their neighbourhoods.

Sadly, many tenants are prohibited from keeping a pet, meaning that they miss out on so many of the associated benefits. 35% of Londoners renting with pets, have not informed their Landlords of having adopted a pet since moving in. One lady told me how her Landlord turned up unannounced. She told him to come back tomorrow, as she was having a Mothers meeting. In fact, she needed the time to hide all evidence of having a dog. This situation is stressful for people’s health. Yet, it is not uncommon with people letting with pets in London and across Cities in the UK.

Ten per cent of people giving up their dogs do so because landlords don’t allow pets. I can’t imagine how distressing and heart-breaking it must be to have to give up your pets because your landlord won’t allow you to keep them.

Pets bring us great joy and have an extremely positive effect on mental health. It is estimated that pet ownership saves the NHS £2.5 billion a year, https://www.benenden.co.uk/be-healthy/lifestyle/owning-a-pet-is-good-for-your-health/

This is a particular issue for London. Half of Londoners rent either from the council, housing association or private landlord. This is forecast to rise to 60 per cent by 2025 with affordability of buying your own home becoming a real issue for many. There is even a trend amongst people to opt for smaller dogs because of the lack of pet friendly London rentals.

Landlords can be more inclined to accept smaller dogs or house cats. That is why there has been an increase in some breeds such as Cockapoo’s, French Bulldogs, Beagles and Pugs. We also work with a lovely cat charity who can offer advice, The New Moon Rescue, https://newmoonrescue.com/

Dogs are a stimulus for people to get out and exercise. Yet many Londoners are unable to own a pet because of housing restrictions. You can look after other people’s dogs and take them for walks with Borrow My Doggy https://www.borrowmydoggy.com/. A chance to build a relationship with a dog locally. This could be an option for dog lovers who are too busy to have their own dog or are restricted by where they live.

During the covid 19 lockdown, many people have used the time to introduce a pet to their families or have companionship during these unprecedented few months. Of course, some of those will be people ‘sneaking’ a dog or cat into their home without alerting the Landlord. Once life returns to a more frenetic daily life, what percentage of people will be returning those dogs and cats to the likes of Dogs Trust www.dogstrust.org.uk or Battersea Dogs & Cats Home www.battersea.org.uk

Post the covid 19 lockdown, people have also had time to think. People are more now determined than ever to find decent pet friendly rentals in London rather than settle for second best. At Pets Lets, www.petslets.com, we have seen an increase in our pet friendly relocation service.

“Time spent with cats is never wasted”, a famous saying by the philosopher Sigmund Feud. Charles De Gaulle, the French President was also quoted as saying “ The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”

During these difficult times, people of all ages need companionship. Property owners in London, need to realise that pet friendly rentals are a growing market they cannot ignore. Tenants without pets can also damage a property and make a mess with children and adults having parties. Why should innocent dogs and cats be tarred with that brush.

Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets www.petslets.com, a London pet friendly property portal where people with pets matter.