Hounded out of the let­tings mar­ket

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

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

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