The UK’s pet population stood at a huge 54 million in 2017, but vast numbers of landlords still won’t allow tenants to own animals. Here’s why it might be time to let the dogs in…

There are some specialist portals out there that help renters with pets find accommodation – such as Lets With Pets – but, on the whole, many landlords are resistant to the idea of welcoming furry friends into their rental properties.

However, according to a recent survey, more than a quarter – 28% – of tenants in the private rental sector said they would be willing to pay an average of £24 a month more rent if they were able to live with a pet. This extra £288 income a year could be an attractive boost to some landlords if they were willing to relax their rules on pets.

The research was conducted by LSL Corporate Client Department, which took results from more than 3,200 people across the country.

The survey found that the rate of people willing to pay more for their pets was even higher among the younger generation of renters, with 31% of 18- to 35-year-olds saying they would be happy to pay an average of £25.55 more per month. Landlords with properties in student-heavy areas, as well as locations that attract more young professionals, such as trendy city centres, would particularly benefit from taking this on board.

Paws for thought

In the opposite bracket, the Silver Generation of renters aged 55 and above would fork out £19 extra per month if they were able to live with a pet.

The results also saw a contrast between men and women, with 31% of females willing to up their monthly rent compared to 23% of men.

Martyn Alderton, national lettings director at Your Move and Reeds Rains – the sister company of LSL – said: “Our research clearly shows that being able to live with a pet is a huge incentive for some tenants.”

He also suggested ways that landlords could offset the potential pitfalls of letting animals into their rental properties.

“For example, landlords could request a slightly higher deposit, six weeks instead of four, to protect the property; or as this research shows, could consider increasing the monthly rent slightly to cover the cost of any pet-related damage,” he added.

The reasons many landlords give for banning pets from their properties include the damage and extra maintenance work they could potentially cause, as well as the possibility of howling dogs disturbing neighbours. However, pet-free tenants could be equally as likely to cause damage and disturbance in rental properties.

As Tim Hassell, founder of Draker lettings agency, states: “Ultimately, a good tenant with a good dog is far better than a bad tenant with no dog.”