Pets are a positive for tenants and rented properties, says new report

A new economic report led by the University of Huddersfield, in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and Brunel  University, commissioned by animal welfare charity Battersea reveals clear financial benefits of renting to pet owners and as well as dispelling myths about pets and assumed damages.

This report is the first economic cost-benefit analysis of landlords letting to tenants with dogs and cats. The data was collected from over 2,000 private landlords and over 1,000 private renters, exploring a broad range of issues from relationships between landlords and renters, to in-depth explorations of the risk of damage in the private rented sector.

Findings included the average total reported cost of pet-related damage was £300 per tenancy, compared to £775 for non-pet-related damage caused by non-pet-owning tenants. Over the course of 12 years, the total monetary benefits to landlords of letting to tenants with pets exceed any related costs. 76 per cent of landlords reported they did not encounter any damage caused by dogs or cats in their rental properties.

Dr Tom Simcock, lead researcher of the project at the University of Huddersfield, commented, 

“Our new research busts the myths about renting to pet owners. We find that renting to pet owners can be financially viable and beneficial for landlords. Pets are not a major risk, and in fact, pet owners tend to stay longer in their properties.”
Dr Tom Simcock, Research Fellow and Research Manager of the Healthy Housing Initiative

“Pet-owning renters are more likely to feel at home in their property, but worryingly, they are also more likely to be anxious about raising repair issues. All renters need to feel empowered about raising concerns about their property without the worry of retaliatory action. The Government must press ahead with the Renters Reform Bill and ensure this delivers for pets, renters and landlords alike,” adds Dr Simcock, who discussed the report at a roundtable event the Battersea cats and dogs home to unveil its findings.

The report further shows that renters with pets tend to stay longer in their properties than those without pets, with 50 per cent of pet-owning renters staying in their previous accommodation for more than three years, compared to only 31 per cent of non-pet-owning renters. These results indicate financial and social advantages for landlords in fostering longer and more stable tenancies.

Pet ownership is vital to many people’s physical and mental health, whether it’s the companionship that pets provide, or the opportunity to get outdoors and meet other people. The report shows that the measures contained in the draft Renters Reform Bill are vital to supporting pet owners in the private rented sector. 

“This first-of-its-kind report is a great help in dispelling the myths on pets and damages in the private rental sector,” added Ben Parker, Public Affairs Manager at Battersea. “Sadly, one of the most frequent reasons Battersea sees owners bringing their pets to us is a lack of pet-friendly places to live.

“The Renters Reform Bill has the potential to allow more people to benefit from pet ownership, while ensuring landlords and their properties remain protected. However, although the bill passed the Committee Stage last November, it has worryingly since stalled and additional efforts are still required before the law can enable renters and pets to reside contentedly together. As this Bill hopefully continues to progress through Parliament, we look forward to continuing to work with the Housing department and the wider property sector to promote a more equitable rental sector for both pets and people.”