Online searches for pet-friendly UK rental property have spiked post-lockdown to the highest level since available records began in 2004. Search queries for ‘Pet friendly rentals’, ‘Pet friendly apartments’ and ‘Pet friendly’ in the real estate category have all increased dramatically since lockdown ended, according to Google Trends. Pet-friendly rental development operators also say that as many as one in every three of recent enquiries has been from pet owners.
Many tenants – especially those living in cities – can struggle to find rented accommodation that will allow pets. Research by the Dogs Trust found that 78% of pet owners experienced difficulties finding a pet-friendly rental property, and pet owners can take up to seven times longer to rent a home compared with non-pet-owners.
Pet-friendly BTR operators
Being pet-friendly is one of the key facilities offered by the most successful ‘Build to Rent’ (BTR) developments – schemes specifically designed for tenants. The HomeViews Build to Rent Report 2020 found that all ten of the highest-rated BTR developments were pet-friendly, whereas most BTS developments were not.
As a result, many BTR schemes are able to fill the gaps in the market left by private landlords who are unwilling to allow pets in their properties. Lockdown appears to have brought into focus the importance of things like owning pets for tenants who are rethinking their priorities.
BTR operator Fizzy Living describes itself as ‘London’s most pet-friendly landlord’, with 30% of its tenants owning at least one pet. The company’s buildings even feature pet stations stocked with bags, paw wipes and treats, and staff are encouraged to bring their pets to work on designated days.
Harry Downes, Managing Director at Fizzy Living, explains how central the pet-friendly offer is to their business:
1 in 3 enquiries we receive are from pet owners and, certainly over recent months, animals have been lifelines for so many. Owning pets is proven to provide so many benefits to both physical and mental health, and we don’t see why living in rented accommodation should be an obstacle to that.
Pet-friendly BTR operator Get Living operates two London developments and one in Manchester. The company has welcomed the surge in demand for pet-friendly rental properties, as Ian Gibbs, Director of Neighbourhoods at Get Living, explains:
Looking at new enquiries received during and post-lockdown, being pet-friendly has certainly climbed the list of customers’ priorities – in addition to outdoor space and reliable WiFi. Across our three neighbourhoods, we’re finding 15-20% of potential customers mention pets specifically as part of their requirements. Since 1 June, our New Maker Yards site in Manchester received 80+ enquiries on pets alone.
Residents at New Maker Yards show a preference for dogs, with 15% of homes including a canine companion. Breeds range from Siberian Husky to Cavapoos, Miniature Daschunds and Sprockers, while a number of cats and a couple of rabbits (Willow and Pepper) are also celebrated residents.
Meanwhile, Get Living’s London development Elephant Central shows a 50/50 split between cats and dogs. Smaller breeds of dog were favoured at this site due to its central Zone 1 location.
70% of pets living in Fizzy developments are dogs, with breeds ranging from French Bulldogs and Pugs to Pomeranians. The developments are also home to cats, birds, turtles and even a chinchilla. Fizzy Lewisham is the company’s most pet-friendly building, with 50% of residents owning a pet, followed by Fizzy Hayes with 30%.
Rachel, James and Bailey
Rachel, James and Bailey, their 14-month old miniature Dachshund have been living at the Get Living development New Maker Yards for almost a year.
“When looking for a home for our little family of three, being pet-friendly was our number one priority,” explains Rachel. “We wanted to live in Manchester city centre but could only find five pet-friendly apartments and none of them compared to what New Maker Yards had to offer! The beautiful courtyard and grassy canal side area right outside our apartment are ideal spaces for Bailey to run round in.
“We love living here – all the residents are so friendly and a lot of them have dogs so the social aspect of living here is great. It’s the perfect neighbourhood for pets as they can go everywhere – even the pub!”
Dali, Orange, Jellybean and Harley (and Laura and Kevin)
Laura & Kevin live at Fizzy Hayes with their two 4-year-old black cats, Dali & Orange, 3-year-old tortoiseshell cat, Jellybean, and Harley, their 2-year-old Golden Retriever.
“We moved to London from Dublin in August, which was quite a challenge during a pandemic, but Fizzy has made it so easy for us,” explains Laura. “We have quite a few pets so the fact that they are so welcome here was the top decision-making factor. We’ve definitely found finding pet-friendly accommodation a major problem previously as there aren’t many options comparable to Fizzy.”
Laura explains how the development’s secure gated garden and rooftop terrace offer spaces for their dog Harley to run around in at any time of day or night. The pet station in the reception area and the pet treats and toys in their moving-in welcome pack ensured that they felt right at home:
“We haven’t experienced anything like this with rental accommodation before!”
Reviews on HomeViews.com from pet owners
The best thing and which was what made me decide to move was the property accepting dogs, I was trying to find a new apartment dog friendly and it is impossible in London, good for Get Living as they found some very good tenants who had no other options in town!
– Verified Resident, Elephant Central (Get Living)
The development overall is amazing, incredibly friendly staff, lots of friendly tenants and my favourite bit, how dog friendly it is. My dog has never been happier living in a flat. We love our daytime residents team, they love my dog and they always give him loads of snuggles when we come in or leave.
– Verified Resident, Dressage Court (Essential Living)
I moved here with my cat and I feel so lucky to have found such a beautiful, pet-friendly building.
– Verified Resident, Sailmakers (Greystar)
The fact that this is a pet friendly building was the reason why we have chosen it but there many more advantages for it, for sure.
– Verified Resident, Landsby Wembley Park (Quintain Living)
HomeViews provides verified resident reviews of the UK’s housing developments. We’re working with developers, landlords and the Government to recognise high performers and help to improve standards in the built environment.