Why NOT to hide a Pet from your Landlord
Did you know that just under half the UK population owns a pet? It would not surprise me if that has now risen to 50% with the pre and post lockdown rush to adopt a pet. We all know friends or relatives who have a new puppy. In the US, 85 million families own a pet. A staggering statistic.
So, it is not uncommon for people to have a dog or cat. To many your pet is part of the family, it is like having a ‘child’ that you look after, who welcomes you home each time. Even if you have been gone for only 5 minutes. It’s comforting for everyone. You move into your home and settle in.
What’s missing; of course, a ‘four-legged’ friend. Always wanted a cat or dog. What will the landlord say? How will they find out? We never see them. They don’t drop by. What could possibly go wrong, it’s fine.
In a city where cafes, pubs, and even department stores have opened their doors to our four-legged friends, why are London’s landlords bucking the pet friendly trend?
To answer this question–and to shed light on how to find pet friendly apartments in London–I’ve invited Russell Hunt to share his expertise.
Russell is the Founder of Pets Lets, a 100% pet friendly London property portal with a relocation service and a hub of information about dogs in London. Pets Lets is a community where people with pets matter, and Russell is a staunch advocate for increasing the number of pet friendly landlords in the city.
At Pets Lets we ask landlords to consider pets. Look at it on a case by case basis. Property Owners can 'consider pets' without feeling obliged to let to people with a dog or a cat. You can stipulate a small dog or a cat or even allow more than one pet. It is totally up to you. The layout and size of the property will also be a factor. We suggest you meet the tenants with their dog(s) or cat(s). You will know very quickly whether it will work or not.
In the pet sector, we are all working hard to make it easier to live with your pets. It takes a while to convince agents and landlords that having a dog or cat in your property, will not cause excess damage or upset your neighbours. All it takes is one bad dog owner and that landlord will never rent again to someone with a pet. Worst still, if that landlords owns a big property portfolio and is well connected in the London residential sector, then the damage done by one irresponsible owner is far greater.
Moving with your pet is emotional. Your four legged friend is part of the family. To many another child. There is now way you would leave your dog or cat behind.
To a landlord, renting out their property is a business decision devoid of emotion. It is all about the tenant being able to pay the rent. If the tenants is hardly going to be there, then minimal wear and tear to the property is more appealing. To UK landlords, having a dog in the property means damaged furniture and neighbours being woken up during the night by barking.
It is an out of date mindset. People have parties, children draw on the walls and adults vape or smoke. Most dogs sleep, exercise outside and are well behaved. Like people there is the odd exception which gives pets as tenants a bad reputation which agents and landlords remember for a long time.
Under the 1988 Road Traffic act 1988, dogs are seen as property as are some other animals such as cows, sheep and horses. Unlike injuring or killing a person with your car, running over a cat or dog or a collision with an animal, does not have to be reported.
In 2020, when nearly half the UK population has a pet and when dogs and cats are seen as people’s children and part of the family, these acts really are from Medieval Times.
In the UK, it is not against the law for a landlord or letting agent to charge an extra ‘pet rent’. In addition to you paying for your own rent, your four-legged ‘furry friend’, which is part of the family, is charged an additional rent. With some pet friendly rentals, it is not unusual to pay an extra £20-50 per month. Naturally that comes out of the pocket of people who own pets.
The 2019 Tenants Fees Act has had a negative impact on dog and cat friendly rentals in London and across UK Cities. How can you say no to dogs who wants to be part of the family. They cannot be left behind. Only 10% of London landlords offer dog friendly rentals.
London is viewed by many as a welcoming Capital for people with pets. People come from all over the world with their dogs and cats to work as well as attend University or a College. London really is a top pet-friendly relocation destination.
Research has shown that owning a pet can decrease stress, improve mood and boost 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.
London is a hub of pet activity. It is hard to walk in any part of London without seeing people walk their dogs. We are a pet loving nation and pets are like family and make people happy. More and more ‘boutique’ pet shops and groomers are opening across the Capital.
Britain is a nation of dog lovers. In a large Capital City like London, it’s not uncommon to see all kinds of dogs from French Bulldogs, to Cockapoo’s to Labradors to Dachshunds to Beagles running around in the parks and commons with their four-legged friends. You also see dog owners talking to each other. A great social life for all. And yet, renting in London with a dog or even a cat is difficult.