With a house move on the cards for one of The Dog Express team members, it has once again become apparent how difficult it is to find accommodation to rent in the UK when you own dogs (or indeed other kinds of pets). It is likely that this problem is not localised to the UK alone, but probably plagues the millions of dogs owners who rent properties the world over.
In the UK alone, a massive 47% of people renting properties own pets, which not only means that nearly half of all renters struggle when it comes to moving, but many landlords are cutting out a potential rental income group because of preconceived ideas.
Having rented properties for many years with 2 Border Collies, I can attest to some places being more welcoming of pets than others. Take North Wales for example; in the 7 years and 3 properties that I have rented here, I have never found a landlord who was not willing to take my dogs without charging extra deposits or needing references. However in the South of the UK, dogs do not seem to be as common as in the Welsh rural areas and so landlords have plenty of pet free renters to choose from, leaving pet owners hard pressed to find suitable accommodation.
In this article we have put together a few hints, tips and suggestions for renters with dogs and landlords with properties to try and help match the 2 up and dispel some common dog owner myths.
If you have already been renting a property with your dog, ask your current landlord to provide a reference advising that no damage has been caused by the dog being in the house and no complaints have been lodged by any neighbours about noise. This can go along way because landlords often trust the word of another landlord knowing that their own property has been at stake also.
If this is your first time renting with a dog, try asking for a reference from your vet, kennels or even a trainer who can vouch for the obedience of your dog and how responsible you are as a dog owner.
Don’t be afraid to ask potential tenants to provide a reference for their pet or to ask to contact the current landlord to ask questions such as:-
- How long has the renter & dog been in the property?
- Has there ever been any dog related damage?
- Has the current landlord been introduced to the dog?
- Would they recommend this tenant and their pet to another landlord?
This is not a favourite of mine because unfortunately not all renters have a spare £1500.00 floating around to give up as a deposit for their rental term, however it is worth asking the question of your potential tenant if they are able/willing to put up an extra deposit to cover any damage caused by the dog. This would be retained and used in the same manner as the usual tenancy deposit, subject to any damage caused to the property, fixtures or fittings at the end of the tenancy agreement.
Whether your are looking for a rental property through a letting agent or a private landlord; if you are meeting resistance or barriers because you own a dog, try suggesting that you are more than happy for a clause to be added to your tenancy contract stating any damage caused by the dog is billable to the tenant and must be fixed within 14 days of the incident occurring.
If you are willing to consider tenants with dogs (or other pets), why not create a checklist that is to be completed prior to making a decision. This can prove invaluable in discerning what type of dog owner you may be letting to and the potential for any incidents to occur. Types of checklist questions you could ask are:-
- How many dogs do you have & what are their ages?
- What breed/s of dog do you have?
- How often do you walk your dogs?
- How many hours per day are you dog/s left home alone?
- Where do you dogs sleep at night?
- Do you have a dog walker/sitter if the dog is left alone?
It is understandable that many landlords are sceptical when letting their homes out to renters with dogs, especially if they have not done so before. However, there are thousands of responsible dog owners who are looking for properties to rent and the truth is that most often landlords will find that those who make responsible dog owners, make exceptional tenants.
It would be fabulous if more landlords would consider renting their properties to those with dogs and by implementing just a few checklists and reference templates, both parties can be happy and accommodated in the house hunting stakes.