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Nearly 70% of Scottish tenants surveyed would risk becoming homeless to stay with pets

Couple with dog

With the support of Shelter Scotland, the Rock Trust and Edinburgh Eastern MSP, Ash Regan, our Pets and Tenants Together survey was launched in March.

The Pets and Tenants Together campaign, first launched in July 2021, calls for an initiative that provides all public and private landlords across Scotland with specialist advice and guidance on how to support pet friendly accommodation and access to incentives to help protect the human-animal bond.

The survey of 787 adults living in Scotland of which 64% were landlords, 35% tenants and 1% were people seeking refuge, found that seven out of 10 tenants would risk becoming homeless if they were no longer able to keep their pet in their current accommodation.

In contrast, less than 20% of landlords believe that a lack of pet-friendly accommodation causes people to give up their pets, despite almost three quarters of those surveyed having pets of their own.

95% of tenants would support pet-friendly accommodation as a default compared to 39% of landlords.

In written feedback, some landlords said they were reluctant to have pets in their properties due to fears around damage, insurance and other financial implications but 61% of landlords do believe pets are an important member of the family.

Head of innovation and strategic relations, Gilly Mendes Ferreira said, “We don’t believe that anyone should have to choose between a pet and a home.

Of those surveyed, 37% of tenants have had to make the impossible choice between a roof over their head and a beloved pet.

“It has been proven that the human-animal bond has so many benefits on someone’s physical, mental and social health. Pets can help with loneliness and the most common reason tenants gave for having pets was for mental health support.”

Other reasons given included emotional support (77%), physical health benefits (62%) and socialisation opportunities (37%).

Not only does pet ownership save the NHS an estimated £2.45billion** in the UK each year due to the reduced number of visits to the doctor by people with pets, but it also provides a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

One tenant said, “Dogs are family. I live alone in a town I know no one and my dog has meant I’m not lonely. People stop to chat and I’ve met a lovely dog walker for support too.”

85% of landlords agree or strongly agree that pets are important members of the family. One property owner said, “I could not imagine being in a position of having to give up my pets, I truly would do anything to keep them with me at all times. Unfortunately, not many tenants, in my experience, seem to have that ethic.”

Tenants deemed ‘pet CVs’ to be the most effective solution with 65% of tenants surveyed believing these would help persuade landlords to allow pets in their properties. However, landlords preferred incentives such as a payment made for deep cleaning once the tenant moved out (70%) or pet deposits (69%).

59% of both tenants and landlords agreed that pet contracts could be a possible solution.

Reassuringly, the majority of landlords stated that if resources were made available addressing concerns and outlining the benefits of allowing pets within tenants’ homes, they would access these materials.

Head of innovation and strategic relations, Gilly Mendes Ferreira, continued, “Our findings uncovered that 64% of landlords consider their properties to be pet-friendly. Despite this, over a quarter of tenants stated that it took them over 12 months to find somewhere they could live with their pet.

“We know Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and people will do their best to keep their animals with them, even in the toughest of times. This came out very clearly in the research recently carried out as part of the RSPCA’s Animal Kindness Index which the Scottish SPCA supported.

“However, we fully expect to see a rise in pet owners who are unable to care for their animals or afford veterinary bills in the coming months due to rising costs.

“We’re hopeful that the action plan we’ve created with partners will support both tenants and landlords to keep Pets and Tenants Together through these challenging times.”

If anyone has concerns about caring for a pet, please contact the Scottish SPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.




If anyone is concerned about an animal, please do not hesitate to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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