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Renters with pets struggle more than most finding a home

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:07 17 February 2018

Roe Chapman's jack russell Fergus (left) and labrador Teddy (left)

Roe Chapman's jack russell Fergus (left) and labrador Teddy (left)

Archant

Renters with pets say they are victims of discrimination when searching for rental property.

Charlotte Whitehead's Staffordshire terrier Olive Charlotte Whitehead's Staffordshire terrier Olive

Their experiences follow Labour proposals to consult landlords about allowing tenants to keep their pets when they move house, provided the pet is not a nuisance.

Roe Chapman, 56, had to leave Beccles and move to Shadingfield after failing to find a landlord that would accept her two dogs.

She said: “I’ve seen kids or teens do more damage than dogs or cats.

“Just because we have dogs that are part of our family, it doesn’t make us dirty or bad people. It’s discrimination of sorts and it makes us feel so low and skanky,

Roe Chapman sits with her two dogs, Teddy (left) and Fergus (right) Roe Chapman sits with her two dogs, Teddy (left) and Fergus (right)

Many felt some landlords assume the worst of pet owners and presume property damage, even if a prospective tenant has a strong rental history.

Solicitor Rachel Michaelson, 34, who has two dogs and a cat, enquired about more than 150 properties during a nine month struggle to relocate to Dereham.

She said: ”I have a good credit rating and was prepared to pay a large deposit but it was still very difficult.

“The property we are in now was not in good condition when we moved in, and we are now having an uphill struggle with the letting agents to get repairs done.”

Roe Chapman's jack russell Fergus (front) and labrador Teddy (back) Roe Chapman's jack russell Fergus (front) and labrador Teddy (back)

Dave Bennett, owner of Norwich estate agent Your Move Bennetts, emphasised that landlords should be able to decide whether they accept pets.

He said: “There are a lot of landlords that are just not happy about pets because of the damage that they can cause.

“The landlord might also want the property themselves [at the end of the tenancy], and they might have allergies.”

Mr Bennett added it was common for his agency to do extra property checks for tenants with pets and add a damage deposit, often double the standard amount.

He added: “If we have a tenant who we believe will be a good tenant but who has a pet and is interested in a property where they don’t allow pets, we would ask the landlord whether it is ok.

“We try to be as flexible as possible.”

A spokesperson for Norwich City Council said: “Unlike in many privately rented properties, council tenants are able to have pets in their homes.

“It is, of course, important to balance people’s desire to own a pet with the suitability of their home and ultimately the welfare of the animal.”

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