A tech professional who is also a landlord has launched what she believes to be the ideal solution to the impasse between landlords who won’t take tenants with pets, and the estimated 7.6 million tenants in the UK who want to live with their cats or dogs.
Natasha Homer-Earley, whose family has a rental portfolio in the UK but who also has a tech background, has today officially launched PetsScore, which is a dog and cat referencing service for landlords, tenants and letting agents.
In development for months, it enables tenants to register their pets for free including information about their pet’s microchip number, breed/size/weight, vaccinations, pet insurance, medical treatments, pet training, landlord/letting agent references, exercise levels and pet temperament.
PetScore will charge agents a small fee or subscription to see pet references, but pet owners are also able to share their reference with landlords and other property owners. Homer-Earley says she expected to add an insurance element to the platform at a later date, enabling tenants whose pets don’t pass muster to be insured against any damage.
She says her service will also be applicable to the Airbnb/short lets sector and will eventually cover other kinds of pet as demand dictates, and may eventually be integrated into CRM systems. She also has plans to go global, as her platform applies to any rental market where ‘pets in lets’ are a contentious issue.
Homer-Earley (pictured) adds: “We’re at the precipice of a disaster for pets and their owners globally. Pet ownership is at an all-time high and there is a chasm between the availability of pet-friendly rental properties and the overwhelming demand for them.
“Until now, there has been no simple solution for landlords looking to assess the risk of taking on a pet tenant. PetsScore makes this easy and affordable at scale for the first time. We have plans to be in multiple markets within twelve months owing to the global need for a solution to this very real problem.”
PetScore has launched in the midst of a hot debate within the privately rented sector about pets. The government recently altered its voluntary model AST contract to require landlords to take pets unless they have good reason not to, while campaigning group AdvoCATS received cross-party support for its attempt to persuade Ministers to alter the Tenant Fees Act to enable pet deposits to be legal.
And MP Andrew Rosindell recently attempted to go even further. His Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill hoped to give renters the right to live with their pet, but has so far been thwarted in parliament.