Hello, I am Russell Hunt, Founder of Pets Lets, a fellow landlord as well as dog owner.
I was a London estate agent and property search consultant for over 25 years. I founded Pets Lets having inherited 3 dogs from people, who’s landlords said no to pets. I have seen it all. I practice what I preach; a recent tenant rented with her dog in my London flat. She had relocated from the US to study. When the property was vacated there were no issues. In fact, she had improved the look with a touch of interior design skills. Throughout the tenancy period I was always asked before any changes were made to the property.
So many times, I have seen sharers ‘trash’ a place. I was in a lovely house in Wimbledon and my client who had an elderly beagle, had agreed the property. We were all shocked at the state in which it was left. There was even a door off the hinges. A classic case of the landlord based overseas and poorly managed. The client moved in following a refurbishment and has looked after it. A perfect property for them and their dog. A rare house on one floor, no stairs, great for their dog who was losing his sight and a secure back garden.
Both landlords and pet owners are equally passionate about the topic of renting with pets. For landlords, property is an investment/ pension and many pet owners see landlords as uncaring and greedy.
My mission is to educate both landlords and pet owners, so that the percentage of UK pet friendly rentals increases from the current dismal 10% (check figures) to a higher figure more proportionate to the 50% of the UK population who own a pet. 76% of millennials are pet parents. Saying no to pets or not even considering it, is losing out on a huge target market. Yes, it is a landlord market at the moment, but that can change. Markets in both sales and rentals fluctuate.
As I help clients with pets find pet friendly accommodation in London, that means I constantly work with estate agents and landlords. Sometimes, it is just a case of reassuring a landlord that our client is responsible, that their dog will not damage the property, or the cat will not claw the furniture.
From experience, I see how happy people are when we secure them a property. They are so grateful. They look after the property. Many extend their stay as they appreciate it and look after it as if it were their own home.
Since 2010, the UK is on its fourth consecutive conservative prime minister. Just like any new person taking over, there is always a change of policy as well as personnel. That results in a lot on uncertainty across the board mixed with delays. That is what has happened with lets with pets. A huge issue when 50% of the UK population own a pet, mostly dogs or cats, which is also linked with the cost of living crisis, with pet insurance and pet food and general costs also on the increase.
Rental reform was ‘high’ on the Boris Johnson agenda. The cost of living crisis also affects mental health and the pressure of covering your monthly outgoings. Cuts have to be made and pets cost money. A very sad state of affairs. That mixed with the fact that UK landlords like to charge extra monthly pet rents, which vary considerably. It all adds up. It is not fair that renting with a dog tends to be more expensive than without. Having a pet should not come down to pounds and pence; for many they are children and offer emotional support. You cannot fiscally measure that.
The UK and London rental market is very competitive. Finding a property that does not go within a few hours is not easy. That is no exaggeration. You miss a phone call, can’t see the property that day or in the evening due to work or some other commitment and it is gone. Or you rush to see a property that the agent has said is great and has just come on the market, only to find it does not ‘tick the box’ at all.
Post lockdown, renting with a dog in the UK is far more complicated. The rental market is very competitive and there are so many more breeds of dogs. At Pets Lets, we regularly come across clients with a different breed of dog. Imagine an estate agent or landlord who does not own a pet; they would not have a clue as to the weight or size of the tenant’s dog(s). That is why the pet cv is such a powerful tool as it enables the property professional to visualise your ‘four legged friend’. Click here on Relocation Services to see example pet cv’s.
Dog friendly rentals is a highly searched google term in the UK. Pets are part of the family, and it is too big a market for landlords to ignore. That is why more property owners are considering letting to people with pets.
The Pets Lets co-founders have been on site at. In fact, the site is owned by a fellow dog lover who we met locally. Biscuit befriended his dogs and we began speaking.
Whether a dog friendly rental is a long, short or holiday let, landlords who themselves have dogs/ pets understand what is required to make it a dog friendly environment, which works well for the dogs as well as the owners and their families. In fact, the whole site here is off grid. There are logs for bbq’s and heat in the evening or a wood burning stove in the yurts during the winter, as well as solar power for the hot water and lighting in the common parts. Water comes from a borehole and is filtered. Tastes great.
Glamping in yurts at The Fir Hill does exactly that.
Renting with a dog in London and throughout the UK, should be simple. We are a dog loving nation. Pubs and cafes as well as department stores and boutiques say yes to dogs. The clue is outside the door, a water bowl, a refreshment before your owner walks in. Even my local pharmacy offers customers with dogs a large gravy bone. Funnily, it can get quite busy with dog’s owners. What a great marketing tool though! Dogs mirror children. There is a groomer, they have their own chic boutiques with accessories and outfits. There is ‘dog fashion’ and trends. You see vitamins for dogs advertised on the London underground and on the back of a bus. Dog chews and toys are a huge market and there are articles about the best chews and toys for your pups.
Pets are people’s modern-day children. You read as well as hear the term ‘fur babies’. They are part of the family. It is all about lets with pets. People and their pets are inseparable.
I just spoke to a dog owner, who was ‘misled’ by a big an estate agency into signing a tenancy agreement without a pet’s clause. The first version of the tenancy agreement had a pet’s clause. When the tenant tried to get out of it, they argued that large costs would be incurred, so the tenant felt ‘forced’ to sign another version without the pet’s clause.
Whilst moving into their so called ‘London pet friendly property’, the landlord had no idea they had a dog. After a lengthy discussion, it has been agreed the tenant could stay until they found something asap.
London property is complicated full stop. London pet friendly property is another matter. Renting with pets is another obstacle to overcome. Can you imagine buying a property, not fully owning it as it is leasehold, which prevents your dog or cat living in your own home. That would be a very costly mistake. Make sure when renting or buying as a pet owner that the ‘head lease’ is pet friendly. Never assume. Your pet is depending on you to provide their home.
As mentioned above, even buying a property with a pet can be difficult. Common sense says, I own the property, so therefore my dog or cat will live with me. Normally that is the case. If your property is leasehold or even share of freehold, yes you do own your apartment, but the building around and the common parts, come under a head lease, many of with in London still say no to pets.
Renting with a dog in London or anywhere full stop is all about being responsible. Landlords have enough ‘issues’ about pets causing damage and leaving odours behind. Responsible people with pets work hard to ‘spread the word’ that renting to people with dogs is ‘hassle free’ and the property will not be damaged and will indeed be well looked after.
The percentage of pet friendly landlords will only increase when word spreads that people renting with dogs and cats are responsible. So, it is sad to show this picture of a Central London rental property where the patio is covered with dog poo.
Lets with pets, part of Dogs Trust offers good advice to pet owners and landlords looking at the benefits of renting to people with pets. More landlords need to consider letting with pets. That takes time and landlords need to be educated about the merits. Yes you can take a reference, but at the end of the day, it is a ‘lottery’ as to how the tenant will be, regardless renting with or without a pet. Ask yourself ** who can make more damage to a property, a dog or cat or a child or teenager?** From personal experience as a dog owner with three teenagers, I have my own opinion and ‘champion’ the quest to convert UK landlords to consider lets with pets.
A lot of pet owners do not realise what a powerful tool the Pet CV is when applying for a pet friendly rental in the UK. A large percentage of people when renting with dogs for example, do not realise that Pet CV’s exist, let alone make a difference. Even estate agents look at you twice when you mention you have a Pet CV.
Why does a Pet CV help? When a landlord sees a Pet CV they visualise a responsible pet owner, who will look after their property. They have gone to the effort to put down all their details about their pets. It shows how important to them their dogs and cats are. They are part of the family. The principle is the same as a normal employment CV. The better it is collated the more impressive you come across as a potential employee.
The Kurt Zouma, kicking his cats story has highlighted how important pets are to people. With half the UK population owning a pet, they play a big part in society.
Increasing shops and cafes are becoming pet friendly. Water bowls are outside shops during the summer months as a sign you can come inside with your dog. If you own a shop why turn away half your target market.
Everywhere you go you see people walking their dogs and an increasing number of adverts portray pets. Even an energy company this year told people Hug a pet on an LBC interview, which was later retracted, but highlights how ingrained pets are in modern day society. be further action by the) RSPCA
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi
The UK is seen globally as one of the pet friendliest nations.
Half the UK population have a pet and over lockdown an extra 3.2 million people in the UK adopted a pet. This is a huge statistic. It represents a change in modern day life, with increasing number of people having ‘fur babies’. Dogs and cats are people’s children.
Pets are part of the family. By landlords saying no to pets, it is the same as not allowing people’s children. With circa 50% of the UK population owning a pet and an extra 3.2 million pets being adopted over lockdown, this represents a growing number of potential pet owning tenants across the UK.
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.
When it comes to pets and property, damage is the main concern landlords have. At Pets Lets we talk to agents and landlords whilst we are finding pet friendly rentals for clients. Landlords are concerned primarily by damage and smells and how that will affect future tenants with allergies. However, adults damage properties; there have been many places we have been to where the landlord is carrying out extensive works because the last tenants ‘trashed’ the place. Also, children have be known to have paint brushes, crayons, parties and like anyone can cause some damage. To say dogs and cats, cause extensive damage is an ‘exaggeration’, when most sleep all day.
The UK is a pet loving nation. Over lockdown, a staggering 3.2 million pets were bought over lockdown. So why do people talk about how difficult it is to find pet friendly rentals in the UK? It is a big topic of conversation across social media, at dinner parties, and is on the ‘agenda’ in the House of Commons, to make it easier to have Pets in Rented Homes.
The private rental market is set to grow to 22% by 2023. Rising property prices, difficulties saving for a mortgage deposit as well as stringent mortgage criteria, have already been forcing many to rent.
The focus has moved away from the ‘obsession’ with bricks & mortar and having a mortgage, to renting, seeing your friends, as well as being able to travel. Build to Rents (BTR’s) are changing the face of the rental landscape in the UK. Good news for pet owners is that 47% of build to rent (BTR) developments are stating they are pet friendly.
“We tell landlords they have to consider tenants with pets. Demand is too high to ignore. We see this changing a lot in 2022 with more pet friendly properties coming on. Competition is tough though against people without pets.” North London Agent, August 2021.
”We see an increasing number of landlords saying yes to a small dog or house cat and being won over by cute images.” Pets Lets Relocation Consultants
Amend Tenant Fees Act to make bringing pets into rented accommodation easier, say MPs, peers and campaigners
A cross-party group of over 35 MPs and peers have joined leading pet charities and landlord associations have penned an open letter.pdf to Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, urging him to amend the Tenant Fees Act after new research demonstrated the negative impact the Act has had on pets in rented accommodation.
With my 16 year old having finished his GCSE’s what better way to celebrate than take him away with our beagle/ basset, Biscuit & Co Founder of Pets Lets, as well as a friend of my sons to experience a dog friendly holiday on the Isle of Wight.
Simple to get to from London and the ferry to Fishbourne from Portsmouth (insert Whitley ferries link) was easy. We even arrived early and drove straight on to a ferry. Before 8.30am we were on the Isle of Wight with all three asleep in the back of the car.
Holidaying with a dog can be more complicated when looking for place to stay. On Pets Lets we list pet friendly rentals from long & short lets to holiday lets and now dog friendly pub rooms. We work a lot with Michael Paul Holidays, who are so helpful and recommend and decided to use one of their resorts that we list on the Pets Lets portal. Biscuit needed to ‘sniff’ the place out.
When going on holiday with a dog or more than one dog, there are other things to consider. At your dog friendly place to stay, having that safe and secure bit of outside space makes such a difference in the morning and at night. Far more relaxing and stressful. Save the harness and leads for the main walks during the day.
At Pets Lets, we work with clients from all over the world looking to relocate with their pets. They are astounded by how difficult it is here in the UK to find pet friendly rentals.
In other counties if you want to rent with your dog, it is a simple process. Yet here in the UK, it is a ‘hotly debated topic’.
Landlords are keen to protect their investments and are concerned at the potential damage can do to their properties. It takes one irresponsible pet owner to have a knock-on effect with landlords and estate agents. Talking to property professionals, you hear about cats scratching carpets and dogs chewing furniture.
Yet 9 times out of 10, pet owners are far more responsible than tenants without pets, and you can argue that dogs and cats damage properties less than children. On the other hand, pet owners are equally as vocal about landlords and agents not listening to them and ‘flatly’ saying no to pets.
At Pets Lets we specialise in finding pet friendly rentals. We talk to landlords and agents as well as visit developments all the time. The topic of conversation is how landlords should be more open minded when renting to tenants with pets.
According to the is BBC News article, only 7% of landlords allow pets. It also refers to ‘renters being allowed to keep well-behaved pets’. In fact, nothing has changed. The law has suggested rather than enforced that landlords should consider pets.
The Pets Lets pet friendly property portal list properties that allow cats and dogs all the time. It is about landlords considering pets as dogs and cats vary in size and quantity. We come across pet owners all the time who are looking for rural unfurnished properties because they have more than four dogs, need the space and would prefer that their own furniture has ‘wear and tear’, rather than worrying about the landlords furniture. It is about giving landlords the ability to consider each case. Don’t say no to all pets. If the tenant has a small dog or a house cat then that is a different proposition to a pet owner with a number of pets.
People renting with pets do stay longer and do tend to be responsible as they appreciate the landlord allowing pets
More information about the properties mentioned in this blog is on Pets Lets a 100% pet friendly property portal where landlords consider pets.
The Best Pet Friendly Property Portals & Facebook Groups
Anyone coming to the UK and London with a pet, realises sooner or later, that finding rentals that allow pets is not easy. It is time consuming and a lot of landlords and estate agents say no to pets We are a pet loving nation, 50% of the population has a pet and lockdown witnessed a surge in people adopting pets, in particular puppies.
By 2025, it is estimated 40% of the UK population will be renting. In London alone that figure is set to increase to 60%. Currently 50% of the UK population has a pet. 30% of pet owners do not declare their pet(s) to their landlords. Hundreds of pets a year are returned to shelters because landlords say no. Refusing pet friendly accommodation has a negative effect on society.
In the UK, basically landlords are afraid of what they don’t know. A pet means damage to many and they hear horror stories. Unlike the other afore mentioned countries, a UK landlord cannot ask for a bigger deposit, add a request for pet insurance and a deep clean to be written into the tenancy agreement. Unlike their counterparts overseas, their hands are tied. Yet it is forecast that by 2025, 60% of the UK population will own a pet. With a younger ‘generation rent’, that is over half the available tenants. Something has to change. The recent suggestive approach by the UK government is not enough and it needs to be regulated.
Pets Lets is a London-based pet-friendly property portal with over 20 years of experience. They help pet owners find pet-friendly rentals and also offer a UK relocation service, as well as advice and tips for pet owners.
At Pets Lets, our network of UK relocation consultants are constantly speaking to agents and landlords across the country about pet friendly properties. We are so passionate about the subject of renting with pets in the UK that we have set up a Pets and Property Tips Facebook Group where we can offer professional advice.
Questionable Extra Fees for Tenants with pets
Otherwise known as pet rents, pet owners are finding themselves charged an extra rent per month for a pet, ranging from £20 – 50 per month. Finding pet friendly accommodation or landlords that will consider renting to people with pets can be tricky. Adding another fee on top is too much. It is merely a backlash because of the 2019 tenant Fees Act which made the landlord absorb some of the tenant’s costs. People renting with pets is an obvious way to recoup those costs.
We have even come across an Estate Agent trying to charge dog background checks
Summary of changes in UK legislation in renting with pets
As the Founder of Pets Lets, a Landlord, pet owner, a property search agent for over 20 years, I have a lot of experience dealing with landlords and agents.
I came across a person recently who has a dog and rents out a property. They agreed that is hard to find a property that allows pets, but as a landlord they would not allow people with pets. You would hope that a fellow dog owner would be a more sympathetic landlord.
We are so passionate about the subject of renting with pets in the UK that we have set up a Pets and Property Tips Facebook Group where we can offer pet owners struggling to find a pet friendly place, professional advice.
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.