More than nine out of 10 landlords are still refusing to allow tenants to have pets in their homes, despite a boom in pet ownership during the pandemic, according to new research.
Tech start-up PetsScore, which conducted the research, said more and more tenants are now lying to landlords as a result after finding only 7% accept animals.
Around 3.2 million more pets were bought by households during the pandemic and the company is urging landlords to offer more flexibility.
The company also warned that some families are simply giving up pet ownership so as not to fall foul of landlord contracts, with a 35% increase in calls to the Dogs Trust recently reported.
Each pet is then given a score, similar to a credit rating, on nuisance noise, damage and tenant responsibility.
Founder Natasha Homer-Earley said she started the business after struggling to find a pet-friendly rental for her four-year-old dog Daisy.
She warned: “We’re at the precipice of a disaster for Britain’s pets and their owners.
“Pet ownership is at an all-time high, getting on the property ladder has never been further out of reach for millions and there is a chasm between the availability of pet-friendly rental properties and the overwhelming demand for them.
“We want to be a force for change in a market traditionally weary of tenants with pets – making it easier for landlords to assess and measure, in a few clicks, the potential risk of a would-be tenant’s cat or dog.
“Increasing the number of pet-friendly rental properties is long overdue and is of critical importance for millennials in particular: 33% of this age group will rent for life, if they haven’t bought a home by 40.”
According to the Dogs Trust, demand for puppies soared during lockdown, with Google searches for “buy a puppy” increasing by 166%.
In the three months of the first lockdown last year, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home received 40,392 applications to rehome dogs, an increase of 53% compared with the previous three months.
A further 31% of people who acquired a dog or cat in this period had not been considering becoming pet owners before lockdown.