Lets with Pets offer recession lifeline

Earlier this year the charity reported an alarming increase in pet owners forced to downsize or move to rented accommodation. With lettings agencies and private landlords often hesitant to allow pets in their properties, Dogs Trust’s 17 rehoming centres have witnessed a nationwide influx of pets reluctantly handed over by owners forced to downsize.

Clarissa Baldwin, Dogs Trust CEO, said:

“Our research reveals that whilst three quarters of UK landlords surveyed said they would allow pets, in actual fact 54% of pet owners were unable to find any suitable rented accommodation.
Pet owners who need to rent privately are being forced to live in unsuitable properties, or rent with their pets without consent from their landlord. Some owners even go to extreme lengths such as hiding their dog in the bath or under the bed when visited by their landlord!”

Paul Martin, presenter of the popular BBC2 show Flog it!, is supporting the campaign, he says:

“I own two dogs and in the past I experienced problems trying to find suitable rental accommodation for us as most landlords were very negative. This not only severely limited our options, but was difficult emotionally as my pets are very much part of the family. I would encourage landlords to always consider renting to pet owners as they are very often responsible people that will make excellent long-term tenants.”

The charity has compiled ten top tips for tenants looking for pet-friendly accommodation:

1. Write a CV for your pet, so that your landlord can objectively consider if your dog may be suitable as a tenant. Consider copying Bo Obama’s example  (opens new browser window)and include the following points:

• Your dog’s breed, size, age and activity level.
• If your dog is a pure breed, include the breed’s positive traits.
• Try to highlight your dog’s history of good behaviour and house training.
• If your dog has attended and completed training classes.
• If your dog is neutered.

2. Get a pet reference from your previous landlord, letting agent or your vet to show your pet is well behaved and capable of living in rented accommodation without causing problems.

3. Offer to pay a larger deposit to cover any potential damage.

4.  Offer to get the carpets and curtains professionally cleaned when you move out.

5. Be as flexible as possible on location and property type.

6.  Don’t leave house hunting until the last minute and begin your search at least 6-8 weeks before you need to move out.

7.  Introduce your pet to your landlord to put their mind at ease and make sure you get the permission put in writing.

8.  Be honest and don’t sneak your pet in without permission  – or you could both find yourselves homeless.

9.  Tell your landlord how long your dog will be left alone in the property on a regular basis. It will help if you are able to state whether you will take your dog to work, arrange for day care or be at home with your dog most of the time.

10. Stress that dogs are very effective as a burglar deterrent!

For further information the campaign website www.letswithpets.org.uk offers downloadable advice booklets and practical tips for landlords and tenants alike.

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