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It’s harder for pet owners than smokers to rent

It’s currently six times harder for pet owners to find a rental property than smokers, highlighting why the Renters Reform Bill has chosen to build it into tenancies as standard.

An average of just 7% of available rental properties are listed as ‘pets considered’. In comparison, 44% of landlords are willing to welcome an active smoker.

Dan Marchant, smoking cessation expert and director at E-Liquid retailer Vape Club, said: “It’s clear to see that owning pets severely limits your options when searching for a rental property.

“However, it’s surprising to see that this sentiment isn’t the same for smokers and almost half (44%) of landlords are willing to accept an active smoker.

“Smoking can cause damage to rental properties with cigarette smoke staining walls, leaving an odour that’s hard to remove and potentially leaving burns on surfaces.

“We also know that smoking can significantly damage personal health. Whilst I’m surprised that so many landlords accept active smokers but not pets, it’s clear that quitting smoking will still open up over half of the rental property market.

“So, quitting smoking will not only improve your health but also increase access to the rental market which is currently hugely competitive.

“It’s important to do all you can to boost your chances of getting the rental property you want, which is why quitting smoking can almost double your options.”

The borough of Havering in London is the least welcoming to pet owners searching for a rental home, with zero pet-friendly properties.

Comparatively, 44% of landlords in Havering were still willing to allow smokers to rent their properties. It’s clear that pet owners are being excluded from a huge number of rental properties.

Even the most pet-friendly areas are hesitant to allow pets. Dundee currently has the highest percentage of pet-friendly listings in the UK. However, despite being the most pet-friendly location for renters, it remains low at 14% of the available listings — a little under one in seven properties.

The avoidance of tenants with pets is likely due to fears of damage to the property, as 85% of landlords have incurred damage to their property by pets.

Jonathan Rolande, founder of HouseBuyFast, said: “The main reason landlords prefer not to rent to pet owners is because damage can be an issue, pets can claw at carpet and scratch hard floors. There can also be issues with fleas long after the tenant has left. Some renters refuse homes that have recently housed a pet.

“Insurance is an excellent way to protect homes from pet damage. I recommend making sure tenants are responsible owners and that the pet is suitable for the space, for example not having a large dog in a studio flat.

“My advice for tenants is don’t be afraid to simply ask your landlord. Often a conversation at an early stage between landlord and tenant can help clear up any issues and make sure both parties are clear on where they stand.”