56% of rental properties didn’t allow smokers, whereas 93% would turn away potential tenants with pets.
Pet owners find it more difficult to secure a rental property in comparison to smokers. UK rental market research found that an average of just 7% of available rental properties are listed as ‘pets considered’. In comparison, 44% of landlords are willing to welcome an active smoker.
Despite landlords not welcoming pets into their properties, the Renters’ Reform Bill was introduced to parliament on May 17 2023 which plans to give private tenants the ‘legal right’ to own a pet. However, it is predicted that the legislation won’t come into effect until October 2024 and animal lovers will have to contend with limited rental options.
Smoking cessation experts at Vape Club sought to discover how many people were limiting their rental market choices by choosing to smoke, and how this compared to the well-covered rental challenges pet owners face, by gathering and analysing data from SpareRoom.co.uk.
The data revealed that, on average, landlords would rather have an active smoker in their rental property than pets. On average, quitting smoking could more than double your chances of renting. Whilst not owning a pet could open tenants up to around fourteen times more properties — but only one of these changes has the added benefit of improving your health.
The borough of Havering in London is the least welcoming to pet owners searching for a rental home, with zero pet-friendly properties.
Comparatively, 44% of landlords in Havering were still willing to allow smokers to rent their properties. It’s clear that pet owners are being excluded from a huge number of rental properties.
Even the most pet-friendly areas are hesitant to allow pets. Dundee currently has the highest percentage of pet-friendly listings in the UK. However, despite being the most pet-friendly location for renters, it remains low at 14% of the available listings — a little under one in seven properties.
The avoidance of tenants with pets is likely due to fears of damage to the property. A recent survey revealed that 85% of landlords have incurred damage to their property by pets.
Smoking cessation expert Dan Marchant, Director at E-Liquid retailer Vape Club, said, “It’s clear to see that owning pets severely limits your options when searching for a rental property.
“However, it’s surprising to see that this sentiment isn’t the same for smokers and almost half (44%) of landlords are willing to accept an active smoker. Smoking can cause damage to rental properties with cigarette smoke staining walls, leaving an odour that’s hard to remove and potentially leaving burns on surfaces.
“We also know that smoking can significantly damage personal health. Whilst I’m surprised that so many landlords accept active smokers but not pets, it’s clear that quitting smoking will still open up over half of the rental property market.
“So, quitting smoking will not only improve your health but also increase access to the rental market which is currently hugely competitive. It’s important to do all you can to boost your chances of getting the rental property you want, which is why quitting smoking can almost double your options.”
Jonathan Rolande, founder of HouseBuyFast, added, “The main reason landlords prefer not to rent to pet owners is because damage can be an issue, pets can claw at carpet and scratch hard floors. There can also be issues with fleas long after the tenant has left. Some renters refuse homes that have recently housed a pet.
“Insurance is an excellent way to protect homes from pet damage. I recommend making sure tenants are responsible owners and that the pet is suitable for the space, for example not having a large dog in a studio flat. My advice for tenants is don’t be afraid to simply ask your landlord.
“Often a conversation at an early stage between landlord and tenant can help clear up any issues and make sure both parties are clear on where they stand.”
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