An amazing percentage of UK residents have pets, and we have a positive global reputation as being an animal loving nation.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was first founded in Britain in 1824 – at a time when few nations gave animals a fleeting thought. Ironically, it was 60 years later that The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was established!
The fact that more than half of Brits keep at least one pet shows that we enjoy having animals at home. British households have 6.6 million dogs and 7.7 million cats alone.
So, it might strike you as odd that when we look at the UK rental market that the statistics aren’t at all favourable regarding animals.
Property market intelligence from Dataloft highlights that only 7% of landlords advertise homes as suitable for pets. It’s no wonder that many people struggle to find a pet-friendly home.
Making room for our pets while renting
It’s not as though people who live in rented properties suddenly lose their innate desire to live with loving pets.
Recent research conducted by The Property Academy found that 35% of all tenants would be willing to pay a rent premium of £40 per month (going up to £50 in London) for a ‘pet-friendly’ property. This figure rises to 43% among tenants who are couples.
If almost half of people in rented accommodation would be willing to pay a little bit more each month, solely to enjoy some canine companionship or a friendly feline, it surely indicates that maybe the issue lies with the landlords?
True, it’s the landlords’ prerogative to refuse pets into their property if they’re worried about sanitation or cleanliness, but what is clear is that some middle ground can be established for the benefit of all.
A well-behaved pet-owner
Finding this middle-ground means a compromise from both sides. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well-behaved pets in their homes, announcing an overhaul of the model tenancy contracts. The key words here are ‘responsible’ and ‘well-behaved’.
Although there will always be unfortunate exceptions, it is clear most dogs are obedient, house-trained and docile whilst their owners are similarly dutiful in their role as the tenant.
What’s the way forward?
Essentially, there should be a clear balance between dependable pet owners not being penalised, and landlords showing more flexibility to tenants who are genuinely protecting their properties.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the private rental sector has increased by around 8% over the last few years in England and Wales, and as a result, the demand for pet-friendly homes has increased in tandem.
The consensus is that private renters should be allowed to enjoy the happiness a pet can bring to their lives whilst respecting the fact that, at the end of the day, they’re living in a house that isn’t theirs.
At the same time, landlords should remember that while they want to safeguard the properties in their portfolios, the overwhelming majority of pet-owning tenants are credible and trustworthy.
What’s more, for landlords looking for higher monthly yields and a higher number of applicant tenants, accepting pets is a good way of charging premium prices.
As seasoned letting experts, Townends can offer excellent advice on all matters pet related for tenants hoping to live with their furry friends, and landlords, whether they choose to let their properties to families with pets or not – get in touch with our expert lettings team today and see how we can help you.