New research from animal welfare charity Battersea - the new name for the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home - claims 50 per cent of tenants fear they will never buy a home, thus limiting their aspirations of pet ownership.
The charity says that whilst 76 per cent of tenants currently own or aspire to own a pet, with one-in-three saying their pets help their mental wellbeing, last year only seven per cent of private landlords listed their properties as allowing animals.
The findings of the Battersea survey, which polled a sample of 2,000 adults, are part of its Pet Friendly Properties campaign and come after the government’s pro-pets stance in the recent Fairer Private rented Sector White Paper.
The White Paper’s proposals include formally granting tenants the right to request an animal in their property, whilst requiring landlords to provide a justifiable reason for refusing a pet.
Peter Laurie, Battersea’s chief executive, says: “At Battersea, we take in much-loved pets for many reasons but one factor we see owners cite time and time again is not being able to find a rental property that allows animals. It’s heart-breaking to see owners having to give up their cherished pets for lack of housing options.
“With long-term renting firmly on the rise, we’re calling on the government to do more to increase the number of pet friendly homes across the country. Not only will this help ensure more dogs and cats are able to stay in their original, loving homes, it will also allow more people to enjoy the many benefits of responsible pet ownership.”
The charity gives an example of one landlord who does take in pets.
This is Dominic Payne de Cramilly, an Essex-based landlord with two dogs and two cats of his own, a National Residential Landlords Association member and landlord of 25 years.
The charity says he claims landlords taking pets have a commercial edge over others.
“Providing the property is suitable for the type of pet a tenant owns, I have absolutely no issue renting to a pet owner. Ultimately, I find animals are a product of their owners – if the tenant is well behaved, chances are their pet will be too. I’ve been a landlord for a quarter of a century and have had far more issues with humans causing damage in my properties than I’ve ever had with pets. The idea of all pets being destructive is a massive misconception, and there’s definitely some myth-busting to be done amongst the landlord community.”
One of Battersea’s recommendations to government is to inform more landlords and tenants of the benefits of taking out insurance against pet damage. The charity’s research shows this kind of solution is well-received by landlords, with 70 per cent saying they were more likely to consider having pets in their accommodation if certain precautions, such as damage insurance, were taken.
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