Almost four out five tenants who own at least one animal have struggled to find pet-friendly accommodation, according to new research.
The study by SpareRoom revealed that 78% of tenants have found it difficult to find pet-friendly accommodation, mainly because the majority of landlords are unhappy about tenants keeping pets and refuse to allow them as a matter of course.
According to the research, more than two thirds - 69% - of landlords will not allow pets in their properties, which largely explains why one in five - 21% - tenants surveyed said that they now keep a pet without their landlord’s knowledge.
Landlord’s cited smell (57%), potential damage to the property (55%) and concerns they will not be trained (37%) as their main reasons for not allowing pets in their properties.
Despite landlords’ reservations, 88% of pet owners claim they have never experienced any complaints and that their pets have never caused damage to the property.
To help address the shortage of pet-friendly rental accommodation in this country, SpareRoom has joined forces with charities RSPCA and Crisis, landlord representatives, economists, vets and property professionals to launch the first ever think tank for pets.
SpareRoom also plans to employ cats and dogs as ‘research assistants’, to help better educate landlords to emphasise the positive effects that pets can have on tenants and properties.
The purpose of the think tank for pets is to develop ideas and policy suggestions to encourage more landlords to consider allowing pets into their properties – an issue that is becoming ever more important in the era of ‘generation rent’.
The potential benefits of allowing more pets in rented properties include increased income for landlords, as well as improved physical and mental wellbeing for tenants, a reduction in the number of pets that end up in rehoming centres and even a potential reduction in homelessness.
Out of the tenants that already own a pet, 53% of these stated that they pay between £10 and £49 extra rent per month to allow their pet to live with them, with 32% paying between £50 and £99 extra per month.
Matt Hutchinson, communications director for SpareRoom, commented: “With more of us renting our homes it’s vital we have a conversation about what that means for quality of life. We know that allowing pets into rented homes can be particularly beneficial - and in more ways than people might think.
“Pets can be a source of higher rental income for landlords, but they can also improve the wellbeing of tenants, reduce the number of pets given up for rehoming or, worse, abandoned, and they can even have an impact on reducing homelessness.
“Ultimately, there’s no reason tenants shouldn’t be able to live with pets, subject to certain relevant conditions and checks being in place. By finding the obstacles and removing them, as well as seeing the positives, not just the negatives, we should be able to make it much easier for people to have a pet, whether they own their home or not.”