A Build To Rent operator say it is promoting the concept of private tenants being allowed pets - and it takes a swipe at letting agents who decline pets on behalf of their landlord clients.
Essential Living claims to have opened its first pet-friendly rental properties five years ago and its head of lettings Nick Woodward now says: “Unlike many other landlords and letting agencies, we have a flexible pet policy. We’ll sometimes ask tenants to attend a ‘pet interview’, where we will meet their pet just to double-check that it will fit in with the rest of the community and that it’s veterinary records are up to date.
“Since April, we have seen a huge increase of over 200 per cent in people viewing our ‘pet-friendly’ pages online compared to last year. Not only do dogs encourage daily exercise but they also help reduce stress and prevent loneliness during these isolated times.
“We’ve always had pet-friendly apartments ever since we opened our first building in 2016. By the time we were opening our second development we realised how important this was to renters, so we made all our apartments pet friendly.
“We are glad to have continued permitting dog-friendly access, but as more people have taken up pet ownership during lockdown, we hope to see more landlords weighing up the benefits.”
The issue has become controversial in recent months as the government has issued a new model tenancy agreement with a default position of landlords being expected to allow pets - although the agreement is not mandatory for agents or landlords to follow. And Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell is promoting his Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation and Protection Bill in the House of Commons.
The measure - which has had its first reading - is urging a reform of rental laws allowing dogs and other animals to be kept in rented accommodation so long as owners can demonstrate their care for them, and with the possible payment of a higher deposit.
“What makes somewhere a home is something where special moments are created, living with a family, friends or companions. Moving into a new home is a normal part of life, but what if every time you moved, you faced the threat of being separated from someone you loved. Can a house or a flat ever really be a home if you have been forced to abandon a family member just to be able to move in?” Rosindell told MPs.