Research by central London estate agency, Bective, reveals that the chances of finding a pet-friendly rented home in London remain incredibly low despite new and existing government attempts to persuade landlords to open the door for four-legged companions.
Pet owners have always had difficulty when finding rented homes. Landlords are, by and large, very much against allowing tenants to keep pets due to fears of damage to the property and an unacceptable level of noise for neighbours.
Over recent years, however, pet ownership has become more and more popular. As of 2021, 59% of UK homes have a pet and since the start of the pandemic alone, 3.2 million UK households have introduced a pet.
In an attempt to recognise the UK’s love of pets and persuade landlord’s to loosen their current restrictions, the UK government introduced a new standard tenancy agreement in January that makes it easier for tenants with pets to find rented accommodation. The aim was to ensure that landlords’ default position is to accept pets rather than forbid them, and so it was made illegal for them to put a blanket ban on pets in their properties.
Furthermore, a new bill has now been proposed to help ease the situation for pet owners, formally known as The Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill. Its aim is to make it easier for ‘responsible pet owners’ to find suitable rental properties, but has also been designed to help protect animal welfare by insisting that pet owners earn a certificate of ‘responsible animal guardianship’.
Despite this, a survey of London landlords by Bective found that just 17% have opened up their rental property to a tenant with a pet since these changes were made, while just 37% were in favour of further measures to allow tenants the right to rent with a pet.
Demand for pet-friendly rental homes in London is high, with Bective’s research showing that nearly one in five (17%) of all pet-friendly rentals within the capital have already been snapped up by tenants.
Islington is home to the highest level of pet-friendly tenant demand at 55%, followed by Kingston upon Thames (44.4%), Havering (40%), Wandsworth (35.1%), and Sutton (33.3%).
But despite such high demand, the availability of pet-friendly rental homes remains low. Across London, just 3% of rental homes currently on the market describe themselves as pet-friendly.
The best chance of finding a pet-friendly rental is in Barking and Dagenham where pet-friendly homes account for 18.5% of all currently on the market.
Availability is also above average in Westminster (4.7%), Hammersmith and Fulham (4.6%), Sutton (4.3%) and Kensington and Chelsea (4.1%).
Bective Head of Lettings and Property Management, Tom Dainty, commented:
“London is a city of pet lovers. You’d need only visit Hyde Park on a Saturday afternoon to realise.
However, with many remaining reliant on the rental sector in order to live the London lifestyle the subject of pet rental availability remains a delicate one.
Many of us are now renting for far longer than we’ve ever done and so the ability to bring a pet into our long-term rental home is something that resonates with many tenants. So it’s reassuring to see the government work towards a greater allowance of pets within rental homes.
Of course, it’s also imperative that we consider landlords within this decision making process and allow them the flexibility to decide who, or what, has the right to reside within their home. Failing to develop a two way conversation is only likely to cause many landlords to exit the sector or resort to a more selective approach to tenant sourcing – both of which will be detrimental to the capital’s tenants in the long run.”