A letting agent has claimed that a lack of rental properties where pets are welcome has led to a huge price premium on deposits.
Prime Central London lettings specialist EJ Harris’ “pets & pads” survey revealed that a huge rise in the number of London tenants who have dogs, combined with a lack of supply of flats whose head-leases allow pets, is resulting in huge price premiums on deposits (up to £25,000+) for properties which allow dogs.
EJ Harris said the celebrity-driven craze for ‘handbag dogs’ has led to a huge rise in lettings enquiries from dog-owning tenants. 10 years ago none of the firm’s London tenants had dogs. Five years ago just 2% of the firm’s tenants were dog owners; three years ago the figure rose to 5%; two years ago to 10%; last year to 20%, and this year 30% of all tenants seeking a London flat to let are dog owners.
EJ Harris claims that rental property supply is not keeping up with the rising demand for pet-friendly pads. This is because 40% of all Prime Central London flats do not allow dogs because it is written into the head lease that pets are disqualified.
This growing imbalance between demand and supply of pet-friendly flats has led to significant price premiums being commanded and paid on deposits for flats where the head lease allows for pets. The higher deposits for dog-owning tenants are also to cover any unforeseen damage to the property caused by the pets.
EJ Harris found that for a one-bedroom flat in Central London available to rent for £500 per week (where the head lease allows for pets), the typical non-pet six week deposit is £3,000, whereas a dog owning tenant would be asked to pay £5,000.
For a two-bedroom apartment let for £1,000 per week, the average deposit is £5,000, compared to £10,000, for a dog owning tenant.
For a three bedroom flat for let at £2,500 per week the deposit for a dog-owning tenant rises to £25,000 or more, compared to a deposit of just £15,000 for a pet-free tenant.
In addition to a premium on their deposit, E J Harris says that the majority of London landlords who allow pets also include a professional cleaning clause in the tenancy agreement that requires pet owning tenants to make an extra, non-refundable payment at the start of the tenancy in order to cover the costs of sanitation and professional cleaning when the tenants move out.
Elizabeth Harris, managing director of E J Harris, said: “We have seen a significant rise in the number of dog owning tenants looking for private rental accommodation in Central London.
“These tenants want luxury pads situated close to Hyde Park or The Regent’s Park, where they can regularly take their pets for walks. Despite the stigma surrounding tenancies with pets, in our experience tenants who own dogs make for reliable and responsible tenants who take good care of the property and keep their pets pampered and well trained. We always advise dog owning tenants to create a ‘pet CV’ that provides a detailed description of the pet and outlines key facts regarding behaviour, health and grooming, which can help alleviate the landlord’s concerns.”