No Let up for Pet Owning Tenants

publication date: Nov 4, 2011
author/source: Guest article from the Dogs Trust

No Let up for Pet Owning Tenants

Dogs Trust reveals why tenants are being pushed away from the lettings market

Tenants are being driven out of the lettings market and pushed into searching privately for properties, according to a national study conducted by the charity, Dogs Trust, for its ‘Lets with Pets' campaign.

After a surge of visitors to its website, Lets with Pets conducted a UK wide survey to find out how people go about searching for pet friendly rental properties. Lets with Pets was set up by the Dogs Trust in 2009 to help owners find rented accommodation with their pets, working with lettings agents and private landlords to encourage them to consider pets in their properties.

Of the 5,695 UK pet owners surveyed, one in three could not find a suitable property, while 47% of people who used a lettings agency found them to be ‘unhelpful'. Of the pet owners who did not use a lettings agency, 41% resorted to answering private adverts, while 34% referred to friends and family to find a property.

While non pet owners spend an average of 50 days* looking for a rental property, this Lets with Pets research indicates that over half (53%) of people with pets searched for two months to over a year.  97% of pet owners said that they would be more likely to use property websites if they had a search option for pet-friendly properties, while, 75% said listing ‘pets considered' in the property details would make their search easier.

The research also revealed that pet owners are often forced to keep pets secret or hide them from a landlord, while others have resorted to living in caravans, moving miles away from friends and family or settling in substandard properties just to stay living with their pet. Others have been asked to pay six months rent upfront for the privilege of renting with their pet.

Clare Kivlehan, who runs the Lets with Pets scheme at Dogs Trust, explains:

"Since we launched Lets with Pets we've seen a marked increase in the number of people contacting us for advice. We're campaigning for lettings agents and landlords to take a ‘Pets Considered' approach rather than rejecting all pets. We'd like pet owners to be able to search easily on property websites for suitable options rather than having to make individual enquiries."

Dorian Gonsalves, MD of Belvoir, a national lettings chain that has signed up to the Lets with Pets scheme, comments:

"For Belvoir it made business sense to give our offices the opportunity to sign up to the Lets with Pets scheme. It has helped us to open up a dialogue with landlords and tenants on this issue and address the misconception that all pets are messy, noisy and cause damage to properties. We've found that if landlords stipulate various conditions in their pet clause this sets the boundaries from the start. It's concerning to think that people may opt to sift through private adverts to find a property and dismiss lettings agencies altogether for fear of them not being able to help."

For more information on how lettings agencies can support the Lets with Pets campaign, visit the Lets with Pets website.

Dogs Trust - Lets with Pets Scheme

* Rental Index 2011 Q2


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