Hounded out of the lettings market
You may adore your faithful hound Hector, but it is a racing certainty that, in the competitive rental sector, your landlord will take a different view. The days when Hector would have been tolerated and given a biscuit, are gone. And the same goes for your cat, hamster and goldfish.
Increasingly stringent conditions are being imposed on pet-owning tenants, with most being rejected, according to County Homesearch, a Uk-wide home-finding agency. And it is not just landlords in London who object to Great Danes sleeping on their £2,000 sofas. Even in Yorkshire, James Herriot’s backyard, the “No Pets” signs are up in every window, if only metaphorically.
One Yorkshire agent reports that, of more than 2,000 rental inquiries in a nine-month period, every single one involving a pet was rejected. This was a blanket ban, with cat litters no more welcome than dog baskets. According to County Homesearch, you should arm yourself with a document that would once have been unimaginable – a reference for your pet. Yes, that’s right. A reference.
“Landlords invariably discriminate against pet-owning tenants,” explains Jonathan Haward, chairman of County Homesearch. “On top of the stress of moving house, the difficulty of finding amenable landlords can make life intolerable. That is why it is vital for agents like us to vouch for both the owner’s and the pet’s character.”
For the owner, a bank statement and a character reference from a previous landlord will normally suffice. For the pet, the bar is likely to be set much higher. It is no good just getting an old friend to say a few kind words. “I have known Rover since he was six weeks old and have yet to meet a gentler, better house-trained Irish setter.”
You will need to produce evidence of attendance at dog-training classes. The sternest landlord will soften if a dog can produce, say, a