The search for more outdoor space has led to demand for properties with a balcony increasing by 70 per cent, and gardens are up by 39 per cent.
Parking has also increased in popularity - demand up 48 per cent - and one of the most common requests from renters, for all bills to be included, is up by 38 per cent.
However, it is the surge in interest for pet-friendly accommodation which appears to dwarf other areas of growth in demand.
Rightmove’s director of property data, Tim Bannister, says: “The rise in pet ownership during the lockdown periods has been well documented, and we’re seeing this translate to the rental market.
“Becoming a pet owner is a long-term commitment, so what’s really interesting to consider is the impact this could have on the rental market in the future, and it’s a signal to landlords that if they were to consider allowing a well-behaved pet then it may open them up to a bigger pool of potential tenants.”
The whole issue of pets in lets has gained momentum in recent months.
Early this summer various Conservative and some Labour and cross-bench peers spoke in a House of Lords debate, mostly in favour of allowing pets to be kept by private tenants. Although the government spokesman in the Upper House - Lord Greenhalgh - said the issue was ultimately up to individual landlords, most of the peers contributing spoke of their wish to see the Model Tenancy Agreement more widely used. The latest version of this agreement calls for pets to be allowed.
Propertymark has also commented, with policy and campaigns manager Timothy Douglas stating: "We recognise that renting with pets can make properties more desirable, encourage tenants to rent for longer and tackle issues such as loneliness, but policymakers must recognise the effect of the government’s decision to cap Tenancy Deposits under the Tenant Fees Act. Even the best-behaved pets can have an impact on a property, therefore landlords and letting agents need to be able to safeguard against damage.
“A number of ideas including raising the deposit, pet referencing, and insurance were raised by Parliamentarians and if the government are serious about encouraging more private landlords to allow responsible tenants to keep pets in their rented properties, then they must have a greater understanding of the costs involved and implement rules that support the sector to take on greater risk.”
Early this year Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, introduced the Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation and Protection Bill, urging dogs and other animals to be allowed in rented accommodation so long as owners demonstrate their care for them.
The proposal has cross-party support and has been backed by animal welfare charities including the RSPCA, Battersea, Dogs Trust, Cats Protection and Dogs on the Streets.
However, no time has been found for the Bill to make progress because Coronavirus restrictions have cut debating time in the House of Commons.