Moving to London? Of course you intend to take your beloved pooch with you. But where will you live?
No matter where you move, domestically or internationally, it’s simply harder to arrange housing from afar. And moving to London means getting used to different rental customs and expectations, not to mention terminology. (In a recent blog we talked about culture shock moving from the US to the UK, including language differences. So here’s one more British variation you need to know: we say “rent,” they say “let.”)
Add your dog into the mix, and you have you work cut out for you. Here’s why.
We won’t say “dogfight,” but competition is ferocious.
An article in the Independent last fall said it all with the headline: Demand for Dog-Friendly Flats in London Soars. The article noted pet ownership was extremely rare in London just a decade ago. By 2013, 10% of Londoners owned a dog. And as of October, 2015 that percentage was up to 30%. You can begin to see the problem.
Londoners have figured out what dog-lovers elsewhere have always known – dogs are, indeed, man’s best friend. Woman’s, too. But landlords have not universally embraced dogs as tenants. The Independent article reports dog-friendly rentals are now commanding premium rents and significantly higher deposits. Fees for professional cleaning upon move-out are becoming more common, too.
One lettings specialist (rental agent) said, “These tenants want luxury pads situated close to Hyde Park or The Regent’s Park, where they can regularly take their pets for walks.” Possibly, but you will probably have to be more flexible.
Start your search for dog-friendly housing early!
These resources can help:
- Talk to other expats already in place, or locals who work for your company in or near London. They can steer you toward appropriate neighborhoods, tell you about dog play areas, and recommend the best pet supply stores and a skilled, caring veterinarian.
- Ask your pet transport company if their London-based staff have recommendations.
- Check in with online expat groups and local forums to get and advice. Lets for Pets recommends several pet-friendly sources to look for rentals.
- Look for online classifieds, such as these listings on co.uk or these on Trovit. There are other sites as well.
- Talk to a real estate agent (again, you can get contact recommendations from those in the know).
Check out the London Dog Forum. Aside from listings of rentals, the website offers a wide variety of information you can use while planning your move and after you arrive:
- Emergency and Support Services For Dog Owners
- Dog Friendly London
- London Dog Services
- London Dog Events
Market your dog.
Outsmart the competition for dog-friendly housing by offering proof of your pup’s excellence as a tenant. Every pet owner claims their dog is a model four-legged citizen. But landlords are skeptical in London, just as many are here in the States. How can you overcome their concerns?
- Create a CV for your pooch. Describe your dog’s vital statistics, training and personality. Include information about her health, especially the fact that she is current on all vaccinations, flea treatments, and so on. Talk about how she behaves, indoors and outside. No landlord wants a renter whose dog becomes the scourge of the block. Barking, digging and other negatives reflect on the property owner as well as the pet owner. Since you can’t introduce her in person, include a photo – showing Fifi looking irresistibly winsome, of course.
- Get a letter of recommendation from your current and/or past landlords. There’s nothing like independent verification to back up your word that Fifi is the perfect tenant and neighbor.
Did we mention you should start early?
The last thing you want as your move draws near is to wonder exactly where you’ll be living. So pull out all the stops. Get help from every possible source in your search for dog-friendly housing in London.
Make your pup’s international travel plans well in advance, too. Fifi will have to meet stringent pet immigration requirements, and obtaining all the necessary documentation is a complex, time-consuming process. Plan her move carefully, too. Make sure she has her own bedding, toys and food as soon as she arrives. If her new home seems at least a little familiar, she will be calmer and less likely to act up in some embarrassing way.