pets landlords

11 Mar 24

Landlords are being accused by academics of under-estimating the cost of allowing pets, and under-estimating their financial benefits.

A new report commissioned by animal welfare charity Battersea and led by theUniversity of Huddersfield in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and Brunel University, claims there are “clear financial benefits” and dismisses so-called “myths about pets and assumed damages.” 

This report claims to be the first economic cost-benefit analysis of landlords letting to tenants with dogs and cats. The data was collected from over 2,000 private landlords and over 1,000 private renters.

Findings included the average total reported cost of pet-related damage was £300 per tenancy, compared to £775 for non-pet-related damage caused by non-pet-owning tenants. 

Over the course of 12 years, the total monetary benefits to landlords of letting to tenants with pets exceed any related costs. Some 76 per cent of landlords reported they did not encounter any damage caused by dogs or cats in their rental properties.  

The report further shows that renters with pets tend to stay longer in their properties than those without pets, with 50 per cent of pet-owning renters staying in their previous accommodation for more than three years, compared to only 31 per cent of non-pet-owning renters. These results indicate financial and social advantages for landlords in fostering longer and more stable tenancies.

The report also claims to show that the measures contained in the draft Renters Reform Bill are vital to supporting pet owners in the private rented sector. Some 29 per cent of renters without pets said that if the legislation were passed, they would be more inclined to consider having a pet in the future.

Ben Parker, public affairs manager at Battersea, says: “This first-of-its-kind report is a great help in dispelling the myths on pets and damages in the private rental sector. Sadly, one of the most frequent reasons Battersea sees owners bringing their pets to us is a lack of pet friendly places to live.

“The Renters Reform Bill has the potential to allow more people to benefit from pet ownership, while ensuring landlords and their properties remain protected. However, although the bill passed the Committee Stage last November, it has worryingly since stalled and additional efforts are still required before the law can enable renters and pets to reside contentedly together. 

“As this Bill hopefully continues to progress through Parliament, we look forward to continuing to work with the Housing department and the wider property sector to promote a more equitable rental sector for both pets and people.” 

Dr Tom Simcock, lead researcher of the project at the University of Huddersfield, adds: “Our new research busts the myths about renting to pet owners. We find that renting to pet owners can be financially viable and beneficial for landlords.  Pets are not a major risk, and in fact, pet owners tend to stay longer in their properties. 

“Pet-owning renters are more likely to feel at home in their property, but worryingly, they are also more likely to be anxious about raising repair issues. All renters need to feel empowered about raising concerns about their property without the worry of retaliatory action. The Government must press ahead with the Renters Reform Bill and ensure this delivers for pets, renters and landlords alike.” 

You can also find out more in the report here

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