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Why It’s Hard To Find A Place To Rent With A Dog In London

Finding a property to rent with a dog in London, shouldn’t be so hard but unfortunately it still is. A while ago, I put together a Guide to Renting With a Dog In London which not only listed the best apps and websites to find a property to rent with a dog in London, but also property developments that made renting with pets easy. Sadly however, we also discovered that many people found it difficult to find a place to rent with their pet, especially if they were renting with a large dog, and that in some cases it was impossible.

Why It's Hard To Rent With a Large Dog in London - Photo by Aurelie Four
Photo: Aurélie Four (Photo by A4)

Fast forward two years and it’s time to take a look at whether things have changed, and if it is still challenging to find properties to rent with a dog in London. Read on to find out…

Why Is It Difficult To Find A Place To Rent With a Dog in London

Why It's Hard To Rent With a Dog in London - Photo by Aurelie Four.jpg
Photo:  Aurélie Four (Photo by A4)

Since I put together the Guide to Renting with a Dog in London, a pet-friendly London property portal – Petslets.com has come onto the scene, focused on helping people find the perfect place to rent with their pets.

We caught up with Russell Hunt, Petslets.com Founder who shared some of his personal experiences: “Growing up in London, I inherited 3 dogs from people, whose landlords said no. As a search agent for over 25 years, attitudes towards letting to people with dogs and even selling to people with dogs has not changed. Despite a growing number of Londoners with dogs, pre and post-Covid lockdown, many managing agents refuse to adapt and are stuck in their ways

Biscuit - Co-founder and Chief Barketing Officer at Petslets.com on Millenium Bridge
Russell’s dog Biscuit – Co-founder and Chief Barketing Officer at Petslets.com | Photo:  Aurélie Four (Photo by A4)

From Rusell’s pet-friendly relocation experience, he has noticed first-hand the following characteristics about London landlords and estate agents and their attitudes to tenants looking to rent with a dog:

  • With one small dog, it’s easier to find a pet-friendly property, as some Landlords who would generally say no to pets, will re-consider. Particularly true if the property has been vacant for a while. 
  • However, with more than one dog, irrelevant of size, the number of willing landlords decreases as they anticipate a more significant amount of wear and tear to the property.
  • For two dogs and more, you need a landlord who themselves loves dogs. It can take a while to find a willing landlord, and you will have to be flexible on the kind of property you want as well as location.
  • There are a minority of landlords who love dogs, so for them opening their doors to dogs is not an issue. 
  • When you see the words’ pets considered’ with a property listing, the likelihood is that a small dog or a cat would be fine and no more. Under some property listings, they specify ‘small dogs only’.
  • Experience with clients and landlords has shown that small breeds like Bichon Frise, Miniature Schnauzer’s, Cockapoo’s, French Bulldogs, Dachshunds and Pugs are more appealing to landlords.
  • People are favouring ‘handbag-sized’ dogs that are non-shedding and hypoallergenic as a result.

The Petlets.com Pet-friendly London Property Survey

Finding a Pet-friendly Property in London - Photo by Aurelie Four
Photo: Aurélie Four (Photo by A4)

Petslets.com recently surveyed professionals in the property and pets’ sectors to find out why it is still so difficult to find a place to rent with a dog in London. Of the 200 people that took part, here’s what the survey revealed:

  • 70% own pets as opposed to 22% who do not. 3% said they would like to own a pet, and 5% said they are not allowed a pet where they live.
  • An emphatic 100% of those who took part in the survey think more landlords in the Capital should allow pets.
  • Asked whether it is getting easier in London to rent with a pet, only 20% agreed, compared to 80% who believe it is getting more difficult.
  • Yet only 22% of those asked in the property sector had a bad experience in letting to people with pets, with the majority of 78% saying they had not.
Dog relaxing at home - Photo by Samur Isma
Photo: Samur Isma

When asked what stops landlords from allowing pets, the responses were as follows:

  • Mess and cleaning.
  • Capping of tenants deposits by the Government in 2019 as part of the Tenants Fees Act has undoubtedly put landlords off renting to people with dogs.
  • Non-pets’ clause in a building as well as lease restrictions.
  • Barking and noise to neighbours.
  • Damage and wear and tear.
  • Irresponsible pet owners and a bad experience.
  • Hair and allergies.
  • General hygiene concerns.

Everyone who participated in the survey believed that more Landlords should be pet friendly. However, only 22% of those same people had witnessed a bad experience with pet owners. What Petlets.com concluded, is that pets in properties, in many cases undeservingly, have a poor reputation. To improve this negative perception when looking for a place to rent with a dog, pet owners have to work together as sadly, people remember a negative experience, not a positive one.

Petslets.com Canine Customer Bruno in his pet-friendly house
Bruno, a Happy Petslets.com Canine Customer

However, there is hope on the legislative horizon in the form of Jasmine’s Law, a bill that was put forward in a speech to Parliament by Andrew Rosindell M.P. earlier this week, with the proposal to bring an end to blanket “no pets” clauses in rented accommodation.

Will Jasmine’s Law End No Pets Clauses in Rented Accommodation?

Jasmine's Law - Andrew Rosindell MP
Photo: Andrew Rosindell M.P.

Speaking shortly after Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament on 14 October 2020, the former Shadow Minister of Animal Welfare Andrew Rosindell M.P. described most bans or restrictions on pet ownership in rented accommodation to be “unnecessary.”

He said: “for those people who depend on the companionship of their dog, and who need that loving friend to be with them, especially those who live alone, such restrictions are nothing less than discrimination. Cruel to both the owner and the animal alike.”

Dogs are family members and provide companionship - Photo by Roberto Nickson
Photo: Roberto Nickson

Andrew continued: “My bill brings an end to this discrimination, making it a right for someone to own a dog or another domestic animal to live in their rented home, provided the owner demonstrates responsibility and care for the animal.”

The long-standing animal-loving M.P. is calling his bill “Jasmine’s Law”, after a dog called Jasmine, who was separated from a member of her family due to “restrictions imposed on tenants.”

Behind the name Jasmine’s Law the bill is the ‘Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection Bill); with the full title being a Bill to establish rights to keep dogs and other animals in domestic accommodation; to make provision about the protection of the welfare of dogs and other animals.

Andrew delivered the speech through a mechanism known as a Ten Minute Rule Bill, which gives backbench M.P.s opportunities to propose new legislation in a speech lasting no more than ten minutes. The bill has now passed its First Reading and has its Second Reading scheduled on 29 January 2021.

Dog looking out the window - Photo by Josh Sorenson
Photo: Josh Sorenson

The legislation will require renters with pets to demonstrate they are “responsible owners” with a suggested checklist including a vet’s confirmation that their pet is vaccinated, spayed/neutered, free of parasites and responsive to basic training commands in the case of dogs. In cases where the renter can prove they are a “responsible owner”, and the accommodation is suitable for their pet, the right to take a pet into rented accommodation would then be assumed.

What’s clear is that Jasmine’s Law could be a real game changer for those wanting to rent with a dog in London (and throughout the U.K.), and will be welcomed by many who believe no-pet clauses are outdated and unfair.

We sincerely hope Parliament will pass Jasmine’s law.

Renting with a dog in London...why it's hard

With thanks to Petslets.com for sharing their Pet-friendly Properties Survey Insights

Petslets.com offer either a bespoke Relocation Service for people moving to London with their pet or a Viewing Service where anyone can email up to 4 pet-friendly property links they have come across on a portal such as Rightmove, Zoopla etc. Petslets.com will then make sure the property will accept the person’s pet(s), view on their behalf and report back within 24 hours. Petslets.com can also offer advice on the property, tips to negotiate and guidance on the contract.

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2 Comments

  1. Chloe's mum
    19th October 2020 / 9:56 pm

    Nine years ago, we brought our 2 small dogs to London from Oz (sadly one went to the rainbow bridge within 11 months – I cried so much and still miss him everyday). Finding a dog friendly flat to rent was like finding hen’s teeth, we had to rent (expensive) large multi level terrace houses with a small garden (thankfully we had good references so landlords had no problem with us and our dogs). Three years ago we were fortunate to find (current) great landlord who had to do battles for us with the management company to let us have our dog staying in his flat. It has been the best place we rented. We owe this current (rare and kind) landlord a great indebtedness!

    • 19th October 2020 / 10:58 pm

      I bet you miss him everyday, it’s always so hard when they leave us. I’m glad you managed to find a good landlord – bet he appreciates you as tenants as much as you do him as a landlord who loves dogs x

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