Home Property Government urged to do more to fix pet-adverse rental sector

Government urged to do more to fix pet-adverse rental sector

by LLP Reporter
5th Aug 22 1:23 pm

In the UK, the share of households occupied by private renters has almost doubled in two decades. Whilst 76% of tenants currently own or aspire to own a pet, with 1 in 3 saying their pets help their mental wellbeing, last year just 7% of private landlords listed their properties as allowing animals. This highlights the rented sector’s stark failure to meet the growing demand amongst tenants for pet-friendly accommodation.

The findings of the Battersea survey, which polled a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults, are part of the charity’s ongoing Pet Friendly Properties campaign and come after the Government unveiled a series of new pet-friendly policies in its long-awaited White Paper, ‘A fairer rented sector’, last month.

The proposed measures include formally granting tenants the right to request having an animal in their property, whilst requiring landlords to provide a justifiable reason for refusing a pet. With 1 in 4 people identifying a lack of pet-friendly properties as one of the biggest housing issues in the UK, Battersea’s findings confirm the scale of the issue for the booming industry.

Peter Laurie, Battersea’s Chief Executive, said: “At Battersea, we take in much-loved pets for many reasons – but one factor we see owners cite time and time again is not being able to find a rental property that allows animals. It’s heartbreaking to see owners having to give up their cherished pets for lack of housing options.

“With long-term renting firmly on the rise, we’re calling on the Government to do more to increase the number of pet-friendly homes across the country. Not only will this help ensure more dogs and cats are able to stay in their original, loving homes, it will also allow more people to enjoy the many benefits of responsible pet ownership.”

Fortunately, there are already landlords who support their tenants’ choice to own a pet. Dominic Payne de Cramilly, an Essex-based landlord with two dogs and two cats of his own, has had very good experiences with pet-owning tenants. A National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) member and landlord of 25 years, he believes the benefits of renting to pet owners – like lower tenant turnover and gaining a commercial edge over animal-averse competitors – have so far gone relatively unnoticed by landlords.

Dominic said: “Providing the property is suitable for the type of pet a tenant owns, I have absolutely no issue renting to a pet owner. Ultimately, I find animals are a product of their owners – if the tenant is well behaved, chances are their pet will be too. I’ve been a landlord for a quarter of a century and have had far more issues with humans causing damage in my properties than I’ve ever had with pets. The idea of all pets being destructive is a massive misconception, and there’s definitely some myth-busting to be done amongst the landlord community.”

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