Searches For Pet-Friendly Rental Properties Skyrocket During Covid

As someone who rents their apartment, I understand all too well how difficult it can be to find one that allows animals. When having a dog or cat doesn’t increase your monthly rent, it’s outright forbidden. Renters argue this is unfair, while landlords worry about covering damage costs. The debate rages on.

Recently, I wrote about a bill proposed in the UK that would benefit renters with animals. The bill, called “The Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill,” pushes back against animal discrimination in renting.

Tory MP Andrew Rosindell, leading the bill’s efforts, said:

“Moving into a new home is a normal part of life, but what if every time you moved, you faced the threat of being separated from someone you loved?  Can a house or flat ever really be a home, if you have been forced to abandon a family member just to be able to move in?”

Clearly, the bill represents a growing need amongst property renters.

One thing to note, however: The bill won’t necessarily mean that tenants have an ‘unconditional right’ to have pets in their properties. Those who want to live with a domestic animal must first pass a responsible ownership test. That checklist includes things like vaccinations, microchipping, and responding to basic commands.

More People Are Typing ‘Pet Friendly Rentals’ Into Google

This bill, paired with the fact that adoptions surged during the pandemic had another effect. A recent study found that not only did animal adoptions rise during the pandemic, but so did searches for pet-friendly rentals.

According to Google Trends, “pet friendly rentals,” “pet friendly apartments” and “pet friendly” search terms in the real estate category have climbed significantly since the end of June.

@jaymantri/Pexels

A recent survey also found that close to 50% of all Brits who currently have a pet adopted at least one more during the lockdown. An additional 10% of survey participants plan to adopt soon. As more animals join families, more families find a need for pet-friendly places to live.

Many Landlords Do Understand The Pet Priority

According to House Beautiful, animal-loving renters have found more luck with build-to-rent (BTR) properties. These developments have helped those having difficulty with restrictions on homes rented through private landlords. What’s more, the HomeViews Build to Rent Report 2020 found all 10 of the highest-rated BTR developments pet-friendly.

Harry Downes, Managing Director at “Fizzy Living,” pointed to how many renters value this type of accommodation:

“One in three enquiries we receive are from pet owners and, certainly over recent months, animals have been lifelines for so many. Owning pets is proven to provide so many benefits to both physical and mental health, and we don’t see why living in rented accommodation should be an obstacle to that.”

Ian Gibbs, Director of Neighbourhoods at “Get Living,” said the company takes this priority into account.

“Looking at new enquiries received during and post-lockdown, being pet-friendly has certainly climbed the list of customers’ priorities – in addition to outdoor space and reliable WiFi. Across our three neighbourhoods, we’re finding 15-20 per cent of potential customers mention pets specifically as part of their requirements. Since 1 June, our New Maker Yards site in Manchester received 80+ enquiries on pets alone.”

It’s worth noting that while many private landlords still ban animals, not all do. It seems [at least] for UK renters, chances of finding an amenable living situation are increasing. If you’re not sure where to move, give those trending terms a search yourself.

H/T: House Beautiful
Featured Image: @jaymantri/Pexels

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