The build-to-rent sector is set to be one of 2020’s most exciting areas for growth, and some developers have noticed a particular gap in the market.
Despite more than 40% of households in the UK owning a pet, based on recent government data, just 7% of landlords offer homes suitable for animals.
But a new group of developers and professional landlords are about to change that and help would-be tenants with pets by creating new developments, purposely designed to accommodate pets and their owners.
Around the UK, a number of new build-to-rent (BTR) developments are pioneering the push for pet-friendly lets. With around 150,000 build-to-rent units either completed or planned across the UK, and the sector expected to boom over the coming years, this could mark an interesting new addition to the market.
BTR developments welcome pets in Birmingham and Manchester
One of the many pet-friendly rental housing schemes is in Birmingham. The Allegro is the city’s largest BTR development with 603 apartments. The landmark 25-storey tower at the centre of the Allegro scheme completed just before Christmas, bringing 296 pet-friendly rental properties, including penthouses to market.
Rents start at £690 pcm for a studio, with no service charge and all extras included in the monthly rental payment. Residents at the Allegro will also benefit from access to a state-of-the-art wellness centre, a 20,000 sq ft landscaped roof garden and use of the bespoke Allegro App that allows residents to book services that include dog walking sessions.
Meanwhile, in Manchester, Angel Gardens in the city centre as well as Clippers Quay in Salford, both of which offer pet-friendly apartments for rent. Despite their central locations, the developments recognise that long-term renters deserve the right to own pets as much as homeowners, and are designed with this in mind.
Letting professional raises some ‘pet’ concerns
This initiative coincides with the government’s announcement to change the existing model tenancy agreement and make it easier for renters to secure and keep a pet in their home. However, some lettings experts are less enthusiastic about the government’s involvement in private rental agreements.
Tim Hassell, managing director at Draker, a London based lettings agency comments: “The choice of the type of tenant for a privately owned property should be the owner’s without interference from the government.
“Encouraging a significant increase in having pets in a rental property will cause more wear and tear to rental property which after the latest change in legislation (reducing deposit and banning tenant charges) leaves the landlord now much more vulnerable.”
Mr Hassell adds: “With the dynamic that exists naturally in the rental market pet owners need to be very careful to prove that they are responsible and most importantly accountable for any damage that their pet may cause. With a careful and respectful approach they are more likely to convince the owner (not the government) of the property that they would make a good tenant.”
Should you let your tenants keep pets?
For anyone who invests or is considering investing in rental property, whether to allow your tenant to have pets is something that should be seriously considered. While some properties may rule out dog-owners due to both indoor and outdoor space limitations, other landlords may prefer to consider it on a case by case basis.
Allowing pets could open up a wider choice of tenants, who may want to stay put for longer if they can bring their furry friend, which minimises void periods. Making tenants feel like their rental property is their home can not only encourage them to sign up for longer, but also to take care of the place better. However, taking wear and tear into account, it may not work for everyone.