The pet business is booming. More people are enjoying life with pets and are willing to spend a lot of money on them. There are about 13 million pet owners in the UK – 46% of the population – spending around £7.16 billion a year between them on their animals, according to research by TotallyMoney.com. The survey also shows that 90% of owners say their pet is part of their family and they spend an average of £472.20 per year on them. Interestingly, they are also prepared to pay more for their rent if that means they can keep their pets.
A survey by LSL Corporate Client Department, which is part of the same network as Your Move and Reed Rains, showed 28% of tenants living in private rental accommodation would pay an average of £24 a month extra to live with a pet. Women were more likely than men to pay more rent, with 31% saying they would agree to additional fees to have their pet in rental accommodation, compared to 23% of men. As well as differences between the sexes, there was also a difference of opinion between the age groups. Younger tenants were more like to pay extra if they could have a pet. In the survey, 31% of tenants aged 18 to 35 years said they would pay an average of £25.55 more a month. Also, 22% of tenants aged 55-plus would pay £19 a month more.
Whilst landlords may be reluctant to accept pets because of the potential extra cleaning or mess they can create, the fact that pet-owning tenants are willing to pay more could be an incentive. Your Move and Reeds Rains national lettings director, Martyn Alderton, suggested landlords could offer ‘pet-friendly’ contracts, rather than potentially miss out on an important part of the private rental market. Landlords could also ask for a larger deposit or insist certain insurance is taken out to cover any damage the pet may cause.
RSPCA head of public affairs, David Bowles, said they would encourage landlords to let tenants keep their pets. As well as being great company, pets are also good for people’s health and well-being. It is very distressing for owners to have to give up their pets because they cannot find suitable accommodation which will allow animals. It is also a distressing time for the pets too, who may end up in rescue centres. The RSPCA has booklets offering practical advice about pets and rental properties, for both landlords and housing agencies.
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