The UK is a nation of serious pet lovers and up until recently, finding a home that was pet-friendly has been notoriously difficult, especially for people in London.
According to recent research by Estate Agents Douglas & Gordon, 82% of people say having a pet would positively impact their mental health, with 76% saying a dog or cat at home would make them feel less lonely. However, two-thirds admit to holding off because of their landlords according to research from YouGov and Mars Petcare.
Having collated further insights into how much of a pet loving nation the UK is, over half of Brits (51%) currently own a dog while 47% say they own a cat. It is no surprise that private renters have long wanted landlords to be more lenient when it comes to having pets.
However, this is most likely to change under the newly announced Model Tenancy Agreement where landlords can no longer automatically ban tenants from having pets. Instead, consent for pets is the default position unless landlords object in writing and provide a good reason.
This news opens up a world of options for the 4.5 million private renters in the UK, many of whom welcomed animals into their homes during the pandemic to combat loneliness.
Internal data from Douglas & Gordon shows just 4% of London rentals are advertised as pet-friendly, against 23% that expressly say ‘no pets allowed’. The remaining 70% do not specify, meaning potential tenants would need to ask upfront.
Further research also shows that in London the most pet-friendly rentals are in Chelsea, Notting Hill and Gloucester Road, while areas like Hammersmith, Kensington and Battersea have the least amount.
In fact, in the last five years, Google searches for a ‘home with a garden’ have doubled in the UK as more people look to increase space and have pets, while searches for ‘pet-friendly rentals’ surged by 62% in 2020. The latest guidance means finding a home with a dog or a cat could be much easier going forward.
Hannah McDougall, Chelsea Lettings Manager at Douglas & Gordon commented: “The new Model Tenancy Agreement is positive news for both tenants and landlords, who can benefit from this new approach by encouraging more honest and transparent conversations. Landlords who might not have considered pets before will see that they have access to a far greater pool of potential tenants and be able to increase demand for their properties significantly, whilst landlords in buildings which do not allow pets are still able to make sure they adhere to their lease agreements. In a post-pandemic world where dog and cat ownership has surged, and people are at home much more often, we are pleased to be able to support more tenants in finding and settling into a long-term tenancy and making a home for themselves and their four-legged companions.” –
How to Approach a Landlord About Pets
Most landlords are rightfully concerned about potential property damage and cleaning costs associated with renting to people with pets. Often, previously bad experiences with irresponsible pet owners has created a somewhat negative reputation around the issue.
Fortunately, the government’s new guidance could work as a reminder that landlords and tenants can make pet-friendly rentals work for both parties. When approaching a new landlord about pets, there are a few things you can do to prove that you’re a responsible pet owner:
- Offer references from previous properties
- Provide pet documents, like vaccination records and a spay/neuter certificate
- Offer to arrange a meet and greet session with your pets