Online searches for pet-friendly UK rental property have jumped to the highest level since available records began in 2004, according to HomeViews’ 2020 Build to Rent (BTR) Report.
Search queries for ‘pet-friendly rentals’, ‘pet-friendly apartments’ and ‘pet-friendly’ in the real estate category have all ‘increased dramatically’ post-lockdown.
This comes as 78% of pet owners still experience difficulty finding a pet-friendly rental property, with pet owners taking up to seven times longer to rent a home compared to non-pet-owners, according to research by the Dogs Trust.
Offering pet-friendly BTR is the ‘key to success’
The report highlights the success of operators offering pet-friendly BTR facilities. It found that all 10 of the highest-rated BTR developments were pet-friendly, whereas most Build then Sell (BTS) developments were not.
As a result, many BTR schemes are able to ‘fill the gaps’ in the market left by private landlords who are unwilling to allow pets in their properties. Lockdown appears to have brought into focus the importance of things like owning pets for tenants who are rethinking their priorities.
BTR company Fizzy Living describes itself as ‘London’s most pet-friendly landlord’, with 30% of its tenants owning at least one pet. The operator’s buildings feature pet stations stocked with bags, paw wipes and treats, and staff are encouraged to bring their pets to work on designated days.
Managing director Harry Downes says: “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.”
Pet-friendly BTR operator Get Living operates two London developments and one in Manchester. The company has welcomed the surge in demand for pet-friendly rental properties.
Ian Gibbs, director of neighbourhoods at Get Living, explains: “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% 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.”