Lettings agents are being told by an online platform to be extra-vigilant as increasing numbers of student tenants are getting pets.
The platform, UniHomes, says more students are becoming emboldened to get dogs, cats and other household pets by the publicity for the government’s revised model tenancy agreement which has pet ownership as a default right for tenants.
Even though the model tenancy agreement is actually rarely used by most agents and landlords, the publicity surrounding it may lead some tenants - innocently or knowingly - into interpreting the right to a pet for themselves, the platform suggests.
Research has found that so far 2.1m people have added a pet to their family while in lockdown, with a further 1.8m planning to join them soon; some students are amongst the new pet owners.
The platform says its own research with approaching 1,100 students has discovered that only six per cent of all student accommodation currently listed on the market is pet friendly, but 10 per cent of students apparently already have a cat or dog.
A UniHomes spokesman says: “Recent amendments to the model tenancy agreement mean that more landlords could be about to open up their homes to well-behaved pet roommates for students studying at university.
“However, we would urge both landlords and letting agents to be vigilant when it comes to student pet rental requests and consider the welfare of the animal as much as the potential impact on their property.
“We’ve seen numerous cases where students have left pets for the landlord or agent to deal with once they’ve finished their studies and we wouldn’t advise it for students who are keen to live the party lifestyle.”