The day you move into a rented home is the day you lose some of your possessions. Unwanted furniture is given to relatives or taken to the local tip. Bric-a-brac is taken to the local charity shop, with just the favourites kept for sentimentality.
But the one thing you don’t want to leave off your ‘keep’ list is your pet.
It’s estimated that 40% of households have a pet (or pets) – that’s a pet population of around 57 million.
Animals quickly become part of the family. Be it cat, dog, budgie or something more exotic, they are accepted and loved as part of the household.
Children learn about kindness towards others, have something to hug when they’re frightened and gain an understanding of empathy and compassion.
In the elderly, they help establish a daily routine, aid activity and help combat loneliness. Pets gives them a focus on something to care for.
Something to live for.
It’s good practice for landlords to have a clear and concise policy for pet ownership – but comes as a shock to find only 40% of UK care homes claim to be ‘pet friendly’, and even those policies aren’t always consistent.
‘Pet friendly’ may mean tenants are only allowed to have pets to visit, or maybe a care home has a resident pet. It could even mean a residential home contains a fish tank!
Two thirds of UK older pet owners said they would be ‘devastated’ if they had to give up their pet to go into care.
Moving house, whether that be into private rented accommodation, local authority dwellings or a care home is stressful enough, without having the added worry of losing a beloved pet.
By making a few small changes, landlords could welcome pet ownership in their properties and widen their potential audience. According to a recent survey by the Dogs Trust, 78% of pet owners have experienced difficulty finding accommodation which accepts pets. And according to ‘Pet Friendly Rentals’ by not accepting pets, you will be decreasing your potential market by 50%.
People that are able to find a landlord that accepts pets are more likely to make an effort to be exemplary tenants, so that their tenancy agreements can be longer-term.
A pet reference could be obtained from a previous landlord, and a simple contract stating any damage caused by pets would need to be paid for by the owners could be added to the tenancy agreement.
It now is a selling pitch to advertise truly ‘pet friendly’ environments. Since 2008, the RSPCA has been handing out awards to recognise good practice from Local Authorities, housing providers and contingency planners in relation to animal welfare.
It’s Community Animal Welfare Footprint (CAWF) awards are supported by the Local Government Association, with the most recent awards endorsed by the minister responsible for Animal Welfare, George Eustice MP.