A new idea put forward by a student-focussed Build To Rent operator is likely to increase the momentum behind campaigners wanting pets to be allowed in private rental properties.
The specialist student accommodation provider is to allow pets into one of its schemes - apparently to improve the mental health and well-being amongst residents.
The purpose built student accommodation scheme called Future Generation - built in Guildford, by Southern Grove - has 533 units is to allow pets to new residents who move in as the academic term begins in the next few weeks.
Jack Smith from Future Generation says: “We strive to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the accommodation we provide and we know how much pets have helped young people through this past eighteen months of isolation, loneliness and fear.
“That’s why we’ve made all of our studios pet friendly – because we understand that living alone for the first time, in a new place can take some adjustment.
“Having a friendly, furry face to come home to every day will hopefully make the transition easier for those who choose to bring along their companion. Our studios provide ample space for most small pets – because of course, we have to consider their welfare and wellbeing too.”
Smith cites the Mental Health Foundation as saying that teenagers’ mental health is under severe pressure due to the pandemic, “so it made sense to seriously look at how we, as an accommodation provider, could help.”
He adds that research looking at 6,000 people by York and Lincoln universities show that 90 per cent said a pet helped them cope better with the pandemic.
Smith continues: “We create aspirational living spaces where those who live with us flourish and thrive. I know that allowing our students to bring their pets along will help them better adjust to life away from home and the pressures of uni life.”
Last week a letter was sent to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick by some 30 MPs.
It was written by animal rights campaigner and Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, supported by Labour’s Andrew Gwynne, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey and Scottish Nationalist Lisa Cameron.
Other prominent backers in Parliament include Tories Sir David Amess and Sheryll Murray, Labour’s Dame Meg Hillier, as well as Lord Goddard of Stockport, Lord Oates and Lord Trees.
They want agents and landlords to be allowed to charge pet-specific fees - such as insurance costs or additional deposits - without contravening the 2019 Tenant Fees Act.