Guest Article from the Dogs Trust: Lets with Pets

publication date: May 26, 2009
 | 
author/source: Article submitted by the Dogs Trust
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Lets with Pets


Adopting a pet-friendly approach can help increase demand for rental properties, says the Dogs Trust.

With the residential sales market showing little sign of recovery more homeowners than ever are forced to rent rather than sell their properties at a loss. In some areas these additional ‘reluctant landlords’ have resulted in an over-saturated rental market and longer void periods.

The Dogs Trust Lets with Pets campaign recently launched aims to encourage more landlords and lettings agents to accept pet-owning tenants. This will increase profitability by helping to reduce the length of time a property remains empty and will increase the likelihood of securing long-term tenants. 

The charity consulted the National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS), as well as other professional housing bodies and lettings agents and has launched a dedicated website www.letswithpets.org.uk, with advice for lettings agencies, landlords and tenants alike.

Dogs Trust Chief Executive Clarissa Baldwin explains:

       “Our research reveals that whilst three quarters of UK landlords surveyed said they would allow pets, in actual fact 54% of pet owners were unable to find any suitable rented accommodation. This has resulted in a significant increase in dogs being handed over to re-homing charities like Dogs Trust”

The campaign is supported by Mike Goddard, CEO of national lettings agency, Belvoir.  He says:

       “The latest Belvoir rental index figures revealed that the average monthly rental that Belvoir properties are being marketed for is £690.30, which is almost identical to 12 months ago. It makes no business sense for landlords or agencies to reject a huge chunk of the rental market simply because they are pet owners. In doing so they could be increasing their average void periods by as much as 10%, which can equate to a month of lost income per year. By accepting pet owners landlords will open up their potential rental market and maximise their chances of finding responsible long-term tenants.”

The Dogs Trust welcomes letting agents who are members of a professional body to support the Lets with Pets campaign by signing up to their Good Practice Scheme.  Agents will receive free Lets with Pets publications and publicity material that will help attract pet-friendly landlords to register properties and responsible tenants who are likely to stay in properties longer. For more information on how to become a Campaign Partner or to request information on the many benefits of joining the scheme, telephone 020 7837 0006 or email letswithpets@dogstrust.org.uk 
 
The charity has compiled ten top tips for tenants looking for pet-friendly accommodation:-

1. Write a CV for your pet so that your landlord can objectively consider if your dog may be suitable as a tenant. Consider copying Bo Obama’s example and include the following points:-

    • Your dog’s breed, size, age and activity level.
    • If your dog is a pure breed, include the breed’s positive traits.
    • Try to highlight your dog’s history of good behaviour and house training.
    • If your dog has attended and completed training classes.
    • If your dog is neutered.

2. Get a pet reference from your previous landlord, letting agent or your vet to show your pet is well behaved and capable of living in rented accommodation without causing problems.

3. Offer to pay a larger deposit to cover any potential damage.

4.   Offer to get the carpets and curtains professionally cleaned when you move out.

5.   Be as flexible as possible on location and property type.

6. Don’t leave house hunting until the last minute and begin your search at least 6-8 weeks before you need to move out.

7.  Introduce your pet to your landlord to put their mind at ease and make sure you get the permission put in writing.

8.   Be honest and don’t sneak your pet in without permission  - or you could both find yourselves homeless.

9.   Tell your landlord how long your dog will be left alone in the property on a regular basis. It will help if you are able to state whether you will take your dog to work, arrange for day care or be at home with your dog most of the time.

10. Stress that dogs are very effective as a burglar deterrent!

Tenant case study
Antiques expert Paul Martin, presenter of the popular BBC2 show, Flog it! owns nine-year-old German Shepherd Bluebelle and four-year-old Bassett Hound Diesel. Paul says “In the past I have experienced problems trying to find suitable rental accommodation for me and my pets and most landlords were very negative. This not only severely limited the market, but was difficult emotionally as my pets are very much part of the family. 

“Pet owners are usually more than happy to pay a little extra rent for a suitable property and arrange for it to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy so I would encourage landlords to always consider renting to pet owners as they are very often responsible people that will make excellent long-term tenants,”

Landlord case study
Landlord Hilary Hall from Rugby has four buy to let properties and is happy to let them to pet owners. She says “I use Belvoir in Rugby to look after my houses for me and they take an extra deposit from the tenant just to cover the possible cost of carpet cleaning or repair any damages that might be caused by a pet. This gives me a little extra reassurance that there will not be any problems. I have let houses to tenants with both dogs and cats and would far rather a property was occupied by a responsible pet owner than left empty.”

Interesting results from national research conducted by Dogs Trust:-

• 78% of pet owners experienced difficulties finding privately rented accommodation that allowed pets
• 54% did not find anywhere suitable that allowed pets
• 72% of lettings agencies said that landlords would not allow tenants to keep a pet on their property, whereas the same percentage of landlords said pets were allowed.
• 47% of landlords give tenants no reason why pets were banned
• It’s not just dogs – 65% of cats are banned and 10% of landlords even ban goldfish!
• 14% kept their pet without the landlord’s consent, going to extreme lengths, such as hiding the dog in the bath and keeping the fish tank in a cupboard.





The Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and cares for 16,000 dogs a year through its network of 17 rehoming centres across the country.  Dogs Trust is working towards the day when all dogs can enjoy a happy life, free from the threat of unnecessary destruction.

 

 


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