Owning a pet can increase the amount of exercise you take, it also opens up a social network, with pet owners 60% more likely than non-pet owners to get to know people in their neighbourhoods and build support networks around them.
Battersea, however, witnesses all too often the very real impact of people having to give up a dog or cat due to housing issues, with landlords apprehensive about letting to tenants with pets.
We saw a steep rise in demand for pets driven by the Pandemic, an increase that many thought would decline as we returned to “normal”. But two years on, owing to our new normal and flexible working, demand isn’t slowing down, with 43% of tenants owning a pet and a further 33% aspiring to own a pet now or in the future. This suggests that currently 76% of tenants are directly affected in some way by landlord pet policies.
So that’s why we’ve teamed up to amplify their Pet Friendly Properties campaign. A campaign which aims to educate tenants and landlords in the hope of opening up dialogue and to give you all the information needed to have an open, confident and productive conversation about pet friendly rented homes.
Battersea shared with us one of the stories they have encountered to help raise awareness of the issue:
Sara and Jasmine’s Story
“Like many people across the country, Sara’s personal circumstances were affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. She had happily been renting a pet friendly home for herself and her cat Jasmine for almost three years, but after a long period of reduced income as a result of lockdowns, the rent was no longer affordable and Sara needed to move to somewhere within her new budget. When enquiring about properties, Sara repeatedly found conversations were shut down as soon as she mentioned having a cat despite glowing references from previous landlords for both her and Jasmine. Sara says 16-year-old Jasmine “kept me sane during the pandemic” and she refused to consider living somewhere without her. After a long search, Sara finally found a flat with a landlord willing to waive the no pet policy for her and her elderly cat.”
Battersea’s Pet Friendly Properties – summary report
Battersea has undertaken research with tenant and landlord groups to better understand the current challenges facing those in the private rented sector who want to own a pet.
Their findings recommend:
- Reviewing the impact of the revised pets clause in the UK Government’s Model Tenancy Agreement.
- Incentivising pet insurance options for tenants against potential pet damage, enabling more landlords to accept pets.
- Ensuring that wherever public funds are invested in building new homes for rent, pet-friendly policies should be a condition of funding.
- Organisations promoting pet friendly properties and landlord organisations should develop practical advice specifically on how to assess requests to keep a dog or cat in a flat.
Earlier this year the Government indicated it was planning to change the law to introduce reforms to support pet-owning renters, so the opportunity for real change is now one step closer.
Sign Battersea’s pledge here to help them show that renters deserve to experience the joys of pet ownership, because we know that owning a pet can mean everything.
“My pets are incredibly important to me. They are a constant in my life, helping to remind me when I’m blue that things will get better – caring for them helps me care for my own mental health.”From Battersea renters survey