Renting with pets is a big issue at the moment. First we had Cats Protection's excellent Purrfect Landlords campaign, then came Battersea's Pet Friendly Properties, and now we have renting website SpareRoom's pet think tank.
It's a bit of a stunt, because it involved inviting actual pets to the meeting:
To form our Think Tank, we selected a group of experts in both animal welfare and housing, including charities, vets and landlords, from organisations including Crisis, the RSPCA, and paws.com – as well as pet owners, and even the pets themselves. The group met to discuss and review the many issues around pets and renting, from both a tenant and landlord’s perspective.
The Think Tank then proposed solutions that could work towards our goal, remove the stigma around renting to pet owners, and let renters live in harmony with their furry friends at their side.
But if that's what it takes to get this issue into the news, we're OK with it.
Plus the pictures are really cute.
As with the other campaigns, SpareRoom has concluded that we're a nation of animal lovers. Over half of us have a pet and 97% consider theirs part of the family (who are the 3% of bastards who said no to that question?!), so it really is deeply unfair for landlords and unfair clauses to stand in the way. Particularly when the shelters are overflowing.
The point of the think tank is to "challenge landlords to think differently about letting to pets, and encourage more animal-friendly rentals in the UK." The same as the other two campaigns, essentially.
We can't help thinking this might work a bit better if SpareRoom, Cats Protection and Battersea all collaborated rather than each running their own campaign, but we imagine it'd be like herding cats.
One of the many interesting findings in the full report from SpareRoom's meeting (interspersed with even more cute pics) is that since 78% of us have trouble finding rentals that allow pets, 21% go ahead and have pets that they're technically not allowed.
Hear that, landlords? You can be fair, or you can be lied to. Your choice.
SpareRoom is also asking people with stories of letting with pets or renting to pet owners to get in touch: either by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram with the hashtag #PetsOfSpareRoom. Not sure what you post an Insta photo of if your pet had to be rehomed due to heartless landlords, though. An empty basket?
Let's hope these campaigns start to actually change things so all the homeless animals at risk of being put down in shelters can have safe, loving homes with all the people who are desperate to care for them, and are only stopped by moneybags landlords who consider people's shelter from the elements to be their cushy investment.