Paying a Premium to Live With Your Pet
You wouldn’t leave a family member behind when moving house, so of course you wouldn’t consider moving without your pet! 40% of the UK’s population owns a pet, and that number doesn’t look like it’ll be going down any time soon. With such a large proportion of the UK also renting, there is bound to be crossover with pet owners as tenants.
Are tenants willing to pay extra to live with their furry friends?
At the end of 2020, Zoopla analysed keyword data from their website visitors to discover what features tenants are looking for when renting their new home. Tenants most often look for properties with parking, garages, furnishings, a garden, bills included in the rent, or flats with balconies, while the fifth most-searched-for term on Zoopla was in fact ‘pets’!
In fact, Simply Business discovered that 28% of tenants would be prepared to pay about £24 more per month to live with their pets. In comparison, only 3-4 per cent would pay more for less necessary perks like a concierge service or bike storage.
Interestingly, estate agents Your Move discovered that 31% of women said they would pay extra to live with their pet, whereas 23% of men said the same. They also analysed the ages of pet-owning tenants, and found that 31% of renters aged between 18 and 35 years old would pay about £25 more per month, with about 22% of renters aged 55 and over saying they would pay more to live with their pet. They would also be willing to pay a bit less, around £19 per month.
Pet-friendly properties: what to expect and how to find them
The most important thing to remember when looking for a pet-friendly home is to start early. Although many property ads will say ‘no pets allowed’, this doesn’t mean there isn’t room for negotiation. However, negotiation takes time! If searching specifically for properties where pets are allowed doesn’t give you the results you wanted, you’ll have to go down the route of pleading your case to a landlord so set aside extra time just in case.
If you find yourself convincing a landlord that your pet will be an excellent tenant, don’t sell them short. The more information you offer your landlord, the better. Their vet should be able to provide you with information on their vaccinations or any treatments. If you’ve lived with your pet in a rented home before, ask your former landlord to provide a reference for your pet. Some people even prepare CVs for their pets to compile this information in one simple document. If your landlord is willing, arrange for them to meet your pet to see for themselves how well-behaved they are.
Although it’s clear that pet owners are willing to pay more to live with their furry friends, it’s always good to know what to expect. Before the Tenant Fees Bill capped deposits for tenants, landlords would tack on an extra week’s rent as an additional safety deposit for having a pet in the house. Since the Bill, landlords have instead turned to charging pet owners ‘pet rents’, an additional £25-50 added to the rent bill. If you have come to an agreement with your landlord that you can have your pet in the property, make sure you get this added in writing to your tenancy agreement, whether there is an additional fee associated with it or not.
Landlords and their furry tenants
With the number of pet owners currently renting in the UK, you would expect most landlords to at least consider allowing pets in their rental properties. After all, many pet owners are clearly willing to pay more and tenants with pets tend to move around less frequently, preferring to settle down for longer periods of time. The landlord in this case would be able to avoid searching for new tenants every year or two. By openly accepting pets, landlords also open themselves up to a wider pool of possible tenants.
Many landlords cite bad past experiences with pets in their properties when asked to consider a pet-owning tenant. However, a damage deposit applies to a pet-friendly property the same way it applies to a property without pets and if there is considerable damage done to the home, the landlord has the right to not refund the tenant in order to make necessary repairs. It is in the tenant’s best interest to make sure their pets aren’t damaging the home, not only to get their deposit back, but to have a decent reference when renting in the future.
It looks like the tide is turning for pet-friendly properties, and more landlords are becoming willing to consider tenants with pets. In an ideal world, both you and your landlord would find benefits to having a pet live in the property, so take any opportunity you have to make that ideal world a possibility.