Whether you are relocating to the UK with or without a pet, renting a UK property can be complicated.
We are not just talking about the ‘red tape’ of visas and pet travel companies with the extra requirements of vaccinations. There is the other dilemma of I don’t want my pet to be put in hold, shall I fly to Paris instead of London? Something a lot of people ask about and like everything with relocating takes meticulous planning. There are companies that will pick you up with your pets from Paris and drive you through the Euro Tunnel, have a look at Pet Moves to find out more. A chauffeur service for you and your pet(s).
We are thinking solely about finding dog or cat friendly rentals in London or in other parts of the UK. Renting in a city with a pet is that bit more complicated, with London being the topmost complicated pets and property destination.
Sometimes even the landlord does not know if the building will allow a pet. They are happy to allow a pet and yet they have no idea the ‘head lease’ which are the building rules and regulations says no to pets. Yet, the neighbour has a dog, how can that be?
Simple reason is that nobody has objected, and concierge is not concerned. However, if you wanted to get pets clause (which is the part which legally allows you to rent with a pet), no estate agency could put that in the agreement.
Have a look at the Pets Lets pets & property tips page page which gives useful advice as well as examples of pet cv’s and landlord references etc.
Can’t I just find a property on a property portal?
If I call or email an estate agent, I can find out all about a property on my own?
In principle you can. Have a look at Rightmove, Zoopla or Pets Lets where landlords consider pets. What people forget is that the agent represents the landlord and some agents just want to get the deal done and move on. They don’t necessarily have your best interests in mind. They are not going to say, my competitor down the road has a property that would be more suitable for you.
When you sign a tenancy agreement, that document is legally binding. Have you made sure a pet’s clause is included? Will your rent be rising linked to inflation? Don’t assume the landlord will re-paint the property or tidy up the garden or fix that broken door. With many landlords in a competitive market, you must specify in writing that these points be covered prior to moving in.
Yes, you can do it all on your own. It will be stressful and if you get it wrong with the property, location, get tied into a lengthy contract, those are costly mistakes.
Some experienced estate agents are great, and they will help you. Less experienced ones who are under pressure to meet targets, will just ‘bombard’ you with lots of property emails which are totally irrelevant. Many a time an agent has said come and see this property, not knowing if it is pet friendly. A waste of my time, but all about ‘footfall numbers’ which can be relayed back to the landlord.
“50% plus of my deals are done with relocation agents because they know what they are doing and advise their clients properly.” A London Estate Agent, June 2022
So why use a relocation agent?
You have a professional representing you. Using their local knowledge and contacts to benefit you.
They will help pinpoint the best locations that work for you, source properties before they properly get on the market and get you through the door.
They negotiate on the rent as well as oversee the paperwork. You do not have to talk to an estate agent and just move in if you wish.
Unlike an Estate Agent, they represent you as you are the client. It is all very much about word of mouth, so a positive recommendation is important.
They act as your consultant who you can refer to as much or as little as you want.
The key to a good relocation consultant is one who listens to their clients. Works out what they want, comes up with ideas and tailors the search to best fit the client and their wishes. Too many clients are taken on a ‘property tour’ for say a day, then asked to choose one. With a fast-moving market, there is little time to put a ‘tour’ together as properties are agreed very quickly. Better to look at quality over quantity. If you understand your client, you know what will work for them.
At the end of the day, you will know which is the right relocation agent for you. It can come down to personalities.
If the market is less competitive, why do you still need a relocation agent?
Again, there are huge benefits to local knowledge and an agents property contacts.
Many Estate Agents prefer to work with relocation agents as they find it easier. If you are based overseas or not locally, you are not taken as seriously.
In a less competitive market, there is still the ability to negotiate more on the rent and terms and conditions.
When you factor in the stress you avoid and a professional working on behalf negotiating on the property terms, it gives you the ability to focus on other things.
Relocation agent recommendations
Wherever in the UK you are looking for a property, the best place to start to find a relocation company is the Association of Relocation Professionals website which offers a whole list of relevant companies. They are all vetted before they join too.
Before becoming a relocation agent, I was a London property search agent, advising clients on buying, selling and renting properties. Getting it wrong can be costly. I come across a number of people who have had to move out of their rental properties because they were misinformed about pets being allowed in the property. Another pet owner turned up to their dog friendly rental only to be met by the landlord who had no idea there were dogs. The estate agent had not mentioned it and there was not pets clause in the tenancy agreement.
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.
For useful advice or to find out more about the UK pet friendly rental market, feel free to join our Pets and Property Tips Facebook Group for helpful professional advice on pets and property