Rightmove has reported a deluge of tenants looking for pet-friendly properties to rent following the long months of Covid.
This includes a 120% jump in searches on its portal for rental properties whose landlord accepts dogs and cats while many agents have also reported a deluge of tenants getting in contact to find pet-friendly properties, the portal says.
Government and pet charity data reveals that just over 50% of all households now have a pet after some 3.2 million additional households purchased a dog or cat during the pandemic.
Richard O’Neill, MD of Romans Lettings, says: “There has been an increase in demand for pet-friendly homes over the past year, which we attribute to the pandemic and a resultant shift in priorities.
“Where more people are spending more time in their homes and now have more space, it is likely that they are fulfilling past ambitions of owning a pet and now feel as though they have the environment and lifestyle to facilitate that.”
Katinka Hill (pictured), a lettings director at Chestertons, says: “About half of the phone calls our offices are receiving now are from tenants who own a pet and need a suitable property.
“It’s a sharp increase compared to the number we were getting pre-lockdown but this is not surprising as so many people have bought pets during the pandemic.”
Campaigner Jen Berezai (pictured) of AdvoCATS, which works with multiple agencies across the animal welfare and private rental sectors, says: “We recognise that thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of people are missing out on the joy and benefits of pet ownership, just because they can’t afford to get on the housing ladder.
“This is the reason behind our Heads For Tails! report and forthcoming campaign to amend the Tenant Fees Act (2019) and make the situation easier and fairer for both sides. Change is long overdue – watch this space.”
The Rightmove research will put extra pressure on the government to make pet-friendly PRS properties easier to rent, although it faces hostility from many landlords.
A recent poll by LandlordZONE revealed that two thirds of landlords are unwilling to accept pets in their properties.