Having pets has a long list of benefits. ‘Having a pet can have such a positive impact on an individual’s quality of life and wellbeing,’ stated Conservative London Assembly Member Steve O’Connell.
However, many were still hindered by housing restrictions. This time, there have been calls for the Mayor of London and councils to allow social housing tenants to have pets.
O’Connell proposed the motion to introduce flexible housing policies during an Assembly plenary meeting.
It is believed that 1% of pet owners have fewer doctor visits and 60% are likely to make conversations with people around their neighbourhood. However, social housing tenants may not reap the benefits of pet ownership, unless a policy change is set.
‘We want the Mayor to use his considerable influence to persuade councils and housing associations to bring in more flexible policies which allow a greater number of tenants to keep a pet,’ O’Connell added.
The motion was seconded by Assembly Member Tom Copley, stating, ‘I really welcome Battersea’s new report on pet-friendly properties. This is an issue that I feel personally very strongly about; I’m a private tenant and I’m not allowed pets.’
It was supported by claims that over 10% of dog owners are forced to give up pets due to the landlord’s housing restrictions.
‘I can’t imagine how distressing and heart-breaking it must be to have to give up your pets because your landlord won’t allow you to keep them,’ added Copley.
With the positive effects brought by pet ownership on mental health, it is estimated that it saves the National Health Service (NHS) £2.5 billion a year.
Pet-Friendly Properties Campaign
The Assembly recognised the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for their massive efforts on the welfare of dogs and cats in London. Further, the report reveals that there is only a quarter of local authorities that allow tenants to have dogs. Moreover, half of the local authorities allow tenants to have cats.
Challenges in Finding Pet-Friendly Homes
Sadly, 78% of pet owners face problems in finding a rental space. Most landlords perceive allowing pets to the property as a gamble. As for those who allow pets, chances are there are additional requirements such as a second security deposit. Some only allow certain breeds of a particular weight. That being said, many pet owners are left with no other choice but to give pets to friends or to a rehoming centre.
Tips During a Search for Pet-Friendly Homes
1. Do your own research in advance.
It is important to allow yourself plenty of time to search for a pet-friendly accommodation. It is best to have an assessment of the new place to see if it is suited for you and your furry friend to move in.
2. Win over your letting agents.
Make light conversations about your pet and show them pictures of your furry friend. The pictures should represent how cute and harmless your pet is. Know that some agents may help persuade homeowners to consider your application.
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3. Make a great first impression to your landlord.
The right documentation proving that you have a good record as a tenant will already win your landlord over.
4. Prepare to provide necessary pet documentation.
For your pet to win over your landlord’s heart, you need to gather all necessary documents for your pet especially for dogs and cats, including:
- A spay/neuter certificate
- Microchip and licence numbers
- Up-to-date records on vaccinations
- Vet’s contact information
- Recent photos of your pets
Such documentation can be accessed from your local vet. It would also help if you can provide a pet reference from your previous landlord.
5. Follow your lease agreement.
It is best to openly share that you have a pet through your application. It should mention important details such as your pet’s size, breed, behaviour, and others. Remember that owners may file an eviction lawsuit against you for breaching the agreements when they are not informed of the presence of any animal within their premises.
6. Offer a pet deposit.
If it is not included in the tenancy agreement, consider paying for an additional pet deposit. Some landlords may agree to monthly deposits of about £25 to £50, whilst others may ask for an additional two weeks of rent on top of the standard deposit.