London needs more pet friendly properties

February 7th, 2019

Owning a pet can decrease stress, improve mood and boost opportunities to socialise.

But many Londoners are unable to own a pet because of housing restrictions.

Today, the London Assembly called on the Mayor to work with Councils and Housing Associations to introduce more flexible housing policies.

Steve O’Connell AM, who proposed the motion said:

“Having a pet can have such a positive impact on an individual’s quality of life and wellbeing. Pet owners make 15 per cent fewer visits to a doctor and are 60 per cent more likely than non–pet owners to get to know people in their neighbourhoods.

“Sadly, many social housing tenants are prohibited from keeping a pet, meaning that they miss out on so many of the associated benefits.

“We want the Mayor to use his considerable influence to persuade councils and housing associations to bring in more flexible policies which allow a greater number of tenants to keep a pet.”

Tom Copley AM, who seconded the motion, said:

“I really welcome Battersea’s new report on pet friendly properties. This is an issue that I feel personally very strongly about: I’m a private tenant and I’m not allowed pets.

“Ten per cent of people giving up their dogs do so because landlords don’t allow pets. I can’t imagine how distressing and heart-breaking it must be to have to give up your pets because your landlord won’t allow you to keep them.

“Pets bring us great joy and have an extremely positive effect on mental health. It is estimated that pet ownership saves the NHS £2.5 billion a year.

“This is a particular issue for London. Half of Londoners rent either from the council, housing association or private landlord. This is forecast to rise to 60 per cent by 2025.”

The full text of the motion is:

“This Assembly recognises and congratulates Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for their tireless work to improve the lives of dogs and cats across London, including their most recent report and campaign Pet Friendly Properties.

“Further to the contents of this report, we call on the Mayor to work with Councils and Housing Associations across London to implement more flexible housing policies, allowing more residents to keep dogs and cats in the Capital.

“Where it would improve confidence and enhance animal welfare, social landlords should enlist the help of a recognised animal welfare organisation, like Battersea, to help improve policies and provide training and advice to owners.”