Renters and pet-lovers: changing housing market presents new opportunities

Renters and pet-lovers: changing housing market presents new opportunities

The housing market has been shifting for many years now towards renters rather than homeowners, and as a nation of pet-owners some landlords are changing their views on furry friends.

One of the major changes that the country’s property market has seen over recent years is the sector adapting towards a growing population of tenants – Generation Rent – as people own homes later in life, or even stay off the property ladder altogether.

This has seen the birth of a whole new sector, known as build-to-rent, where purpose-built developments are created aimed purely at renters. Such developments often come with added amenities and common spaces tailored towards creating a community environment that was sometimes lacking in the traditional buy-to-let market where tenants would come and go more frequently, living alongside owner-occupiers.

More potential tenants

As developers and investors have increasingly been taking stock of what the rising number of renters want, one new London-based development, Rathbone East, has taken things a step further in what could be a landslide for the sector as more landlords, developers and investors see the potential in offering more for tenants.

Catering to the country’s pet-owners, which apparently makes up almost half of people in the UK and has historically proved a major hurdle for many renting tenants, Rathbone East is offering a purpose-built rental block that advocates a “pets welcome” policy in its one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The development comes with private gardens and enclosed green space for pets to be able to explore, and each pet-owning resident is given a “doggy bag” with information about local animal services with special offers and treats, as well as tips to help promote happy pets living indoors.

Adapting to the needs of tenants

Catherine Hipperson, associate director at Savills, said: “What we are seeing in the UK is a move towards the US model where landlords don’t see pets as a barrier to welcoming good tenants. As long as pet owners are responsible and the building is well managed with consideration given to initiatives such as pet-friendly floors so that non-pet owners are not disturbed – everyone is happy.”

While some landlords currently allow tenants to pay higher deposits if they want to keep a pet at the property, to ensure that any damage done is covered in the security deposit when the tenants leave, many others still refuse to consider tenants with pets.

Clearly, a lot of rental properties, particularly in city centres, would be unsuitable for keeping animals, but it could be something that developers might begin to factor in – where appropriate – as a way of attracting a wider range of tenants. We could also see more landlords and property investors opening up to the idea of lets with pets in the near future as everyone strives to adapt to the changing tenures of the UK’s property market.

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