Pet owners have been known to equate finding a pet-friendly rental to finding the Holy Grail, particularly in London. It’s one of life’s great quandaries considering that almost 50% of people in the UK own a pet. You can understand it from the landlord’s point of view – in terms of desirability a tenant with a pet is second only to a smoker.
Pets can damage fixtures and leave musky smells that will be resistant to industrial-strength cleaners. But consider that a well-trained pet is also part of a family and just like with children, if the owners bring their pets up correctly, chances are they will also be responsible tenants, paying their rent on time and fixing any damage to the property. In a bid to encourage landlords to become more pet-friendly, Dogs Trust has set up the Lets with Pets scheme to minimise the need for rehoming, and the response has been phenomenal with many tenants voicing their desperate need for pet-friendly rentals. For landlords, particularly of several properties, this opens up a massive shortage in the market which could also increase their rental income.
Here are Dogs Trust’s top tips for helping tenants to encourage a landlord to make their accommodation pet-friendly:
1. Offer to pay a higher deposit or ‘pet payment’. Landlords may favour potential tenants without pets so it’s a good idea to sweeten the deal for them (and minimise the risk) by offering to pay a higher deposit or non-refundable payment for cleaning services.
2. Get your landlord to understand how ‘purrfect’ your pet is. Landlords are afraid of the unknown because if something goes wrong it may end up in financial loss. Take out the fear factor by letting the potential landlord meet and become familiar with your pet – you can even set up a pet CV with references and information about how clean, healthy and well trained they are.
3. Be honest and get it in writing. It’s really a bad idea to hide the existence of your pet from your landlord, not only because it pushes up your blood pressure but also because it isn’t good for your pet who needs time outdoors. Once the landlord agrees to accommodate your pet, ensure it’s put down in writing to avoid future disputes.
- Tepilo’s bonus tip: Attend dog training courses. With the clever use of treats, even an old dog can learn new tricks (or at least learn to listen to their owner). If your dog is a bit on the unruly side, it’s never too late to teach them good manners. And walk, walk, walk your dog if you want to prevent them from chewing up the fixtures and causing you to lose your deposit.
It’s not easy finding a pet-friendly rental so it’s best to be quite flexible about your location if you really want to find the perfect home for your pet. Don’t give up – there are landlords out there who love pets just as much as you do and who will be understanding about your predicament.