Representatives from across eleven organisations including national and regional letting agents, insurance underwriters, lettings professional bodies including Propertymark and Property Redress, pet charities AdvoCATS and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home sat down to discuss the challenges faced and opportunities for solutions protecting both landlords and tenants.
The Lettings Hub surveyed over 600 current tenants and found that 82% of those without a pet would look to bring a pet into their home, research also showed that pet owners stayed longer in properties with the average tenancy increasing from 21 to 24 months (Battersea Dogs and Cats Home).
However, landlords currently have concerns about allowing pets within their rental properties with 35% of landlords reporting they do not currently allow pets (Battersea Dogs and Cats Home).
Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, commented: “We have been warning for some time that the unintended consequences of the Tenant Fees Act have reduced the appetite for many landlords to take on the greater risk of damage.”
With the Government’s White Paper on A Fairer Private Rented Sector, this is set to change, it is vital that experts from across the sector come together to deliver solutions, and The Lettings Hub are leading the way.
Heidi Shackell, CEO of The Lettings Hub, said: “Pets are an emotive subject for both landlords and tenants, at The Lettings Hub we are committed to delivering solutions and products which support and protect all parties. Collaborating with experts across the lettings and pets’ sectors allows us to truly understand how these changes are set to impact our customers and allow us to develop a holistic resolution”
Sean Hooker, Head of Redress at The Property Redress Scheme, said: "It was great to be part of this initiative, which looked at constructive ways of making the aspiration for more pet-friendly property a reality. Tenants rightly don’t want to feel discriminated against for wanting to have a pet, however, landlords should feel they are protected. The challenge is how to deliver this in a satisfactory and cost-effective way and gathering the experts into one room is a fantastic start!”
The forum is set to continue as The Lettings Hub and key stakeholders look to flesh out a solution.
Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, comments: “We look forward to our continued conversations with The Lettings Hub and other key industry groups which will provide an opportunity to share knowledge and expertise across the board and in turn find a workable solution for both landlords and tenants which supports the sector to take on greater risk to help more people to rent with pets.”
Richard Abbott, CEO of Inventory Hive, added: “This issue is a real hot potato right now, so it’s important that industry stakeholders come together. The Lettings Hub event really set the scene for opening-up different perspectives in the room."