Though it’s known as one of the most pet-friendly countries on this planet, the UK still has a long way to go when it comes to being a place where pet owners can rent or even own a flat that allows their best friends to live under the same roof.
It’s hard to find pet friendly accommodation in the UK
If you’re a pet owner with a dog, cat, or even a smaller pet, then chances are you’ve spent a long time searching for a place to live.
It isn’t easy and landlords usually have a very uncompromising approach when it comes to even discussing pets in a flat.
The whole process can be an exercise in frustration and you can spend a long time scratching your head.
Some pet owners end up having to sneak in their pets, which can be a stressful way to live, and others, in worst case scenarios, end up having to give their pets away or go homeless.
But fear not, while it is difficult, it’s not impossible!
Throughout my time here in the UK I spent months trying to find a flat that would let me have Rocky.
I went down your typical flat/home search route and browsed through properties on the usual sites such as Zoopla, Rightmove, etc.
As I said it is incredibly difficult to find anything that says ‘pets allowed’.
Even in certain blocks of flats that are for sale, dogs are forbidden. That means you can own your own flat and still not be able to have a dog. Pretty unbelievable if you ask me!
If a place does say pets allowed then it’s usually a house. It’s almost as if landlords think you can only have a pet if you own a house or rent a house. This is ridiculous.
Clearly, everyone in the world has different living situations and many of their pets would do fine in a place other than a big house.
If you look at places such as France and Spain, there are tons of pets of all shapes and sizes living happy lives in city apartments.
I have friends who own their own flats in the UK but are not allowed to have dogs in them and have gotten in trouble for even dog sitting in the flat. There should definitely be a rethink about pet policies, especially if the pet is well-behaved.
‘Regrettably, no pets allowed’
If you ever been flat hunting with a pet, then you have seen this many times. I probably combed through hundreds of ads myself and have seen this more times than I can count.
Having written extensively about how dog friendly the UK is, I found it quite ironic that I struggled excessively in finding a suitable flat for me and Rocky in this country.
If you have a dog and are looking for a flat then maybe you can relate.
In the four years that I have lived in this country I moved around to different towns a few times and in each one it took me a long time to find a ‘pets allowed’ accommodation.
I got pretty fortunate at times in finding places and sharing homes with people who love dogs, but for every yes there were dozens of nos.
The key is patience
While the world is becoming more pet friendly I don’t know if landlords are becoming more flexible in accepting pets. It’s something I can only hope changes in the future.
Until then here are some tips that I found useful in finding pet friendly accommodation in this country.
Of course this is easier said than done. I spent hours and hours looking for a flat or a house share that said pets allowed. But being persistent goes a long way and soon enough you’ll find a flat that is suitable for you and your pets.
So you want a flat in the middle of the city next to all the shops that’s also dogs allowed? Well, to that I say good luck! While it’s entirely possible you can find that, you might also have to settle for a place outside of the city. If you are willing to be a little flexible, for your dog’s sake, then you can find a pretty awesome place that you may never know you wanted.
In terms of flexibility, you should also have a little more money saved up in case a landlord agrees to a pet but requires a higher deposit. Also, be ready to possibly pay a bit more per month if need be, in order to have a place for you and your dog.
Be stubborn..a little bit
We all know dogs can be very stubborn. Mine is one of the most stubborn creatures on the planet. But did you know a little stubbornness can be good once in a while?
By this I mean, even if a place says no pets allowed, try calling them anyway! So ask and call the flat/house you’re interested in, even if it says no pets allowed, you never know they might like the sound of your voice or they might feel generous!
Prepare a small letter/description of your pet and consider setting up a meeting
It helps if you can paint a picture about your dog to a landlord or agent. If your pet is house trained and overall well-behaved then definitely consider writing a small résumé about your dog, it can only help sway things in your favor.
Also, offer up for the landlord/estate agent to meet with your dog to assuage any fears they may have about letting with a pet.
Try online pet friendly letting agents
The website letswithpets.org, is very handy in helping tenants find pet friendly properties all around the UK. They work with private renting rather than going through a landlord. It seems the site is very understanding and empathetic of tenants with pets.
Other pet friendly letting agents include Zoopla, which has a pet filter, OpenRent, and the flatsharing website Spareroom. The latter I’ve successfully used a few times to find shared accommodation.
Speaking of shared accommodation.
I personally like my space and love being able to come home and use the kitchen to cook meals for me and Rocky and not have to worry about other people hogging up the kitchen, but sometimes a little flexibility is needed (this probably could have been in the flexibility section).
Sharing a big house or a flat might make it easier for landlords to accept pets, especially if the accommodation has a garden.
A few other helpful hints when hunting for a pet friendly flat
I have heard that introduce yourself first to letting agents/landlords and getting to know them and then asking if you can bring a pet is a great idea as they can right away tell if you’re a person they could trust.
Always read tenant contracts!
Especially when it comes to pets. If a landlord agrees to a pet then make sure you get it in writing, including all the terms! Tenants should know their rights and if you ever have any doubt about anything then contact someone who specializes in legal property matters.
Don’t give up! Especially don’t give up your pet at all! They’re your friends and abandoning them just because you didn’t have the patience to find accommodation is not fair to them, especially if they have known you for a while. You are their friend and you owe it to them to give it your best shot in finding an accommodation for you and them!
Europe and the US
In the US, since many apartments are purpose built, you can find out right away whether a complex is pet friendly or not in the description of said apartment complex.
Some accommodations in the US are affiliated with associations which could restrict pets so it’s always wise to ask questions on whether or not you can live with a pet in a certain home.
In Europe, many sites will have a pet friendly filter. In my short time living in Spain I was genuinely and happily surprised at the amount of pet friendly accommodations. Obviously once you click on the ‘show pet friendly flats only’ option then your choices narrow down.
Try sites such as Idealista which allow you to filter out homes that are not pet friendly!
I hope these tips have helped you a bit and remember, above all have patience!
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