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It’s estimated that nearly 20% of people in the UK live in rented properties and that figure is set to rise as people struggle to find hefty deposits and find property prices out of reach for their budgets. There are many advantages of renting, there’s no costly maintenance bills to worry about and you’re free to live anywhere you wish within reason. That is, unless you own a pet. Finding a suitable property when you own a pet can be very difficult. Pet owners are unfairly lumped together with smokers, children and DSS tenants all of whom may face difficulties finding a place to live. So, why do so many landlords shy away from accepting pets?
The main worry is the risk of damage to the property. We all know that however meticulous and house proud you are, pets do make a mess. A little accident on the carpet may be impossible to clean completely, and can leave a lingering smell, which makes the property less desirable to the next tenant. Scratched furniture or claw marks on doors could cost your landlord hundreds of pounds to rectify as well as time to put right.
Landlords also worry about the nuisance to neighbours, barking and howling being a major concern. There is of course the risk that the next tenant may have an allergy to pets, and this can be quite severe in some people.
So, what can pet owners do to help them find a suitable property for themselves and their pet. The first thing is to allow plenty of time for your search. Firstly, you should register on all the online property sites like Rightmove, Primelocation and OnTheMarket. Admittedly, rental properties that accept pets are few and far between, but they do sometimes pop up, so be patient and be determined.
It’s also a good idea to be proactive and place an advert in local shops, or the local paper. This can work well if you’re looking to rent in a rural area. In fact when I made the move to Devon with my 2 dogs, I found a lovely property set within a working farm which welcomed my dogs with open arms. Obviously, if you’re looking to move to a big town or city, your options may be more limited. Rental properties that accept pets in towns are often run down, damp and generally scruffy. If you’re planning to rent for a short period, while looking for somewhere to buy, it may be worth asking a friend or relative to care for your pets until you find your new home.
It may help if you find a property that does not accept pets, to reconsider, especially if you own an elderly and placid pet. You could offer to a slightly higher rent and pay for any damage that is caused by your pet at the end of your tenancy and offer to deep clean the property before you vacate the property.
We don’t advise sneaking a pet in without the consent of the landlord. This is simply asking for trouble, and could cost you your tenancy and your deposit.
It’s sad that so many landlords refuse to accept pets, but at the end of the day, they own the property and they do have the right to choose who they let it to.
The Dogs Trust have some really good advice on finding a suitable property on their Lets with Pets website. You may want to look at the website makeurmove which specialises in finding rental properties for pet owners. The website does not feature too many properties at the moment, but we hope in time it will become more populated.