Owning a pet became a growing trend during the past year as people looked to combat the stress of successive lockdowns with the help of a furry friend.
But for those who don’t own their home, pets can cause a problem when the time comes to move, as landlords are not often animal lovers.
There may be specific clauses in many tenancy agreements against keeping pets, but it is still possible to track down pet-friendly properties.
We take a look at what pet owners can do, the most pet-friendly locations according to a letting agent report, and spoke to tenant, Letitia Randell, about her experience of successfully renting a pretty flat in London despite owning two dogs.
Lettings agency Mushroom analysed the most pet-friendly cities by calculating the percentages of rental properties that allow pets in cities across Britain
A new model tenancy agreement was published by the Government earlier this year, which tried to make life easier for animal lovers.
A main change in the Government’s template tenancy agreement is the removal of restrictions on tenants with pets.
Letitia Randell with one of her two dogs that she shares the flat with in Little Venice
The Government introduced this to encourage landlords to accept tenants with pets. However, in reality the template is just that – and landlords are not compelled to use the template.
But pet owners can try to encourage landlords and agents to be more open-minded and shouldn’t be disheartened, as it is possible to find good places to let.
Dog owner Ms Randell rented the ground floor apartment with a private patio in London’s Little Venice. She declined to say how much she pays in rent, but the price includes council tax, water and electricity.
It was let by a private landlord – who preferred to be known only as Joel – via lettings agents Savills.
She said: ‘I had been searching for a flat to rent where I could live with my two dogs, Esme and Guiness, for a while and was quite open in terms of the area.
‘I tended to find that where a landlord was open to a tenant having pets, often the accommodation wasn’t what I was looking for.
‘I was really pleased to find where I’m living now as it didn’t feel like I was having to make a compromise because I have dogs. Not only is it a lovely flat, but the neighbourhood in Little Venice is brilliant too.’
One of Letitia Randell’s two dogs (which are both cocker spaniel cross huskies)
The ground floor apartment in London’s Little Venice, which was rented by Letitia Randell – with her two dogs – via Savills
Some places appear to be more favourable than others when it comes to tenants with pets seeking a place to rent.
Lettings agency Mashroom analysed the most pet-friendly cities this month – collecting data between May 10 and May 14 – by calculating the percentage of rental properties that allow pets in cities across Britain.
The number one slot was occupied by Glasgow, where more than half of rental homes – at 50.2 per cent – allow a pet.
It is followed by another Scottish city – Edinburgh – where almost half of homes were listed as pet friendly at 49.7 per cent, and Cambridge at 44.4 per cent.
By contrast, Sheffield has only 12.7 per cent of rental properties currently listed as pet friendly. Other cities on the list include Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool.
How to find properties or convince landlords or agents to take pets
What can tenants do to improve their chances of being able to rent a property that allows their pets?
Suggestions include looking at property portals that display pet-friendly rentals and getting a ‘pet reference’ from a past landlord.
Sarah Tinsley, of the rental homes operator Quintain Living, says it is important that pets are part of today’s rental experience.
She said: ‘We believe that being pet-friendly is more than merely allowing residents to keep pets. It’s about welcoming pets as part of our community and creating facilities that enhance the living experience for everyone, on two legs and four.’
Here are some tips on how to find properties or convince landlords or agents to take pets:
1. Use a portal which displays pet friendly rentals. Zoopla, for example, has a ‘pets allowed’ filter in it’s letting search.
2. Get a pet reference. Ask past landlords and letting agents for a written reference for your pet and their behaviour in the property.
3. Write a pet CV. Include key medical details about your pet such as vaccinations and micro chipping as well as a local vet contact who could provide additional references.
4. Offer a Meet & Greet. Offer to meet the landlord or letting agent with your pet in advance so they can get to know them and their character.
5. Explore the breed of pet-friendly landlords such as Quintain Living. All its homes are pet friendly and feature a range of four-legged amenities such as dog runs, bark parks and grooming salons.
Ms Randell said that she loves her new flat and its Little Venice location and one of the positives for her new landlord is that she would like to stay for the forseeable future.
She said: ‘As well as lots of great restaurants and cafes, there’s plenty of green space and of course the canal, so it is a relaxed and peaceful setting but with the benefit of being close to central London, too. Now that I’m here, it’s definitely somewhere I’d love to stay long term.’
The landlord of the property, Joel, explained: ‘Generally, most things are fixable so when it came to renting out the apartment, I was open to tenants with a pet because I felt that any potential damage or wear and tear could be sorted if needed.
‘The property let quickly for this reason. Obviously the area is perfect for dogs because there are so many great parks and open spaces nearby.’
A pet in the pretty interior of the rental flat in Little Venice was welcomed by the landlord
The two-bedroom flat in Little Venice comes with a private patio and is close to many of the area’s parks and open spaces
Parliament introduced the Animal Sentience Bill on Thursday, as the Government recognises the importance of pets in people’s lives – and it may be the case that in future more landlords are open to animal lovers’ needs.
Stepan Dobrovolskiy, of Mashroom, said: ‘We’re seeing more and more renters looking for properties that welcome pets, especially for graduates and young professionals. Pets have become a support system for many of us, and the government is beginning to recognise this.
‘We recommend to landlords take into consideration the needs and requirements of current renters, as tenants are prioritising properties that prove to be pet friendly.’