March 8

Pet Owners Cause Less Damage Than Non-Owners: New Figures


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Landlords are facing scrutiny from academics who contend that they may be underestimating the costs associated with allowing pets and overlooking potential financial benefits. A comprehensive report, commissioned by the animal welfare charity Battersea and led by the University of Huddersfield in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and Brunel University, sheds light on what it claims to be “clear financial benefits.” The report aims to dispel common myths surrounding pets and the assumed damages they might cause in rental properties.

Contrary to prevailing misconceptions, the study suggests that allowing pets can contribute positively to a landlord’s financial bottom line. By challenging preconceived notions about potential damages, the report seeks to provide a more accurate understanding of the economic implications of allowing pets in rental properties. This recalibration of expectations could lead landlords to better appreciate the financial advantages associated with accommodating tenants with pets.

Moreover, the research emphasizes the importance of recognizing the varied benefits that pets bring to tenants, contributing to their overall well-being. By acknowledging these positive aspects, landlords may be better positioned to make informed decisions that not only benefit their financial interests but also contribute to creating more pet-friendly rental environments. This nuanced perspective encourages landlords to weigh the financial gains against potential costs, fostering a more inclusive and understanding approach towards tenants with pets.

This report presents the inaugural economic cost-benefit analysis of landlords renting to tenants with dogs and cats. Data was collected from a substantial sample, including over 2,000 private landlords and more than 1,000 private renters. Key findings reveal that the average total reported cost of pet-related damage stands at £300 per tenancy, significantly lower than the £775 attributed to non-pet-related damage caused by tenants without pets.

Spanning a 12-year period, the cumulative financial benefits for landlords allowing tenants with pets surpass any associated costs. Remarkably, 76 per cent of landlords reported encountering no damage caused by dogs or cats in their rental properties. These findings challenge conventional assumptions about pet-related risks, suggesting that the financial implications of allowing pets may be more favorable for landlords than previously perceived.

The findings of the report indicate that tenants with pets exhibit longer residency in their rented properties compared to those without pets. Specifically, 50 per cent of pet-owning renters remained in their previous accommodations for over three years, contrasting with only 31 per cent of non-pet-owning renters. This suggests that landlords may experience both financial and social benefits by fostering more extended and stable tenancies.

Moreover, the report asserts the crucial role of measures outlined in the draft Renters Reform Bill in supporting pet owners within the private rented sector. According to the report, 29 per cent of renters without pets expressed an increased inclination to consider having a pet in the future if the legislation were enacted.

Ben Parker, Public Affairs Manager at Battersea, commented: “This groundbreaking report helps dispel common misconceptions about pets and damages in the private rental sector. Unfortunately, a prevalent reason for owners surrendering their pets to Battersea is the shortage of pet-friendly living spaces.”

The Renters Reform Bill holds the potential to expand pet ownership opportunities while safeguarding landlords and their properties. Despite passing the Committee Stage in November, the bill has encountered a worrisome stall, requiring additional efforts to enable harmonious cohabitation of renters and pets. Progress in Parliament is eagerly anticipated, and collaboration with the Housing department and the wider property sector remains crucial for fostering a more equitable rental sector for both pets and people.

Dr Tom Simcock, lead researcher at the University of Huddersfield, emphasizes the research’s role in dispelling myths surrounding renting to pet owners. The findings indicate that renting to pet owners can be financially viable and beneficial for landlords, with pets not posing a major risk. Furthermore, pet-owning renters tend to have longer tenancies. While they feel more at home in their properties, there is a concerning tendency for them to be anxious about reporting repair issues. To address this, the government must advance the Renters Reform Bill to ensure its positive impact on pets, renters, and landlords alike.


Pet Owners Cause Less Damage Than Non-Owners, Pets in Lets, Renters Reform Bill

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