This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.
One of the consequences of our hot rental market is that it’s making things even more difficult for those whose households include a four-legged friend.
Dogs Trust, who run a scheme called Lets with Pets – which aims to help pet owners find private homes to rent - has noticed the issue too: they’ve recorded a 56% increase in the number of people taking their dogs to the pound because of housing problems.
They’ve also been talking directly to people about their experiences of renting a home and found 1 in 3 of the 5,695 pet owners surveyed said they were unable to find a suitable property. Those without a Fido or Kitty spend an average 50 days looking for a rental property, but the Dogs Trust research shows that over half of all pet owners spend from two months to a year searching for a home to let.
Clare Kivlehan, who runs Lets with Pets, says she’s working with agents and landlords to encourage them to consider allowing pets in their properties as well as giving both parties practical advice about how to make this happen.
“Since we launched Lets with Pets we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of people contacting us for advice,” Kivlehan says. “We’re campaigning for lettings agents and landlords to take a ‘Pets Considered’ approach rather than rejecting all pets. We’d like pet owners to be able to search easily on property websites for suitable options rather than having to make individual enquiries.”
For a nation of pet lovers, the Dogs Trust research highlights a very real issue which is only going to be drawn further into focus as the weather gets colder and Christmas approaches. Unwanted pets are one thing – but having to give up your best friend because you can’t find a rental home where you’re welcome is agonizing.
Let’s hope this scheme can help sort this problem out so our furry friends can get back to doing what they do best – long walks, playing fetch and bounding about with exuberance.
It’s not often that a brutal and cruel history can help sell a home, but the owners of Bowes Hall, a Grade II listed mansion in County Durham, are counting on a very special Charles Dickens connection to lure in the buyers.
Bowes Hall was once a notorious boarding school and it’s thought it was Dickens’ inspiration for the abusive boarding school called Dotheboys Hall School featured in one of the writer’s most famous novels - Nicholas Nickleby.
Dickens visited Bowes while researching Nicholas Nickleby and stayed in the village pub, a 17th century coaching inn evocatively named The Ancient Unicorn, which is presumably how he came to hear of the school at Bowes Hall.
There’s good news for anyone tempted by this piece of literary history: Bowes Hall – which is set over three floors – has been completely restored over the past ten years. Instead of an open fire in the grate and gruel for dinner, there’s now a new breakfast kitchen and an elegant room in which to dine.
But the home still manages to retain much of its 17th century character - there’s a lovely walled garden, ornamental gates in tall stone pillars and an impressive circular driveway. There’s also three reception rooms, a gym, a games room, an office and a cellar providing a little more comfort than in Dickens’ times.
One of the side effects of being a property-obsessed nation is that we’re often just as seduced by what’s going on inside our homes as what the market is up to outside.
Now, new research by online retailer isme.com into spending habits reveals just how hooked we are. Apparently, as a nation we spend £20 billion each year on so-called non-functional decorative items for our homes – or more precisely, things like scatter cushions and rugs. That’s a not unreasonable £446 a year per person on furnishings.
The research also asks why we spend so much on sprucing up our nests and finds 57 per cent confess they do it to keep up with the neighbours, while 34 per cent blame the telly – or at least their desire to emulate the designer homes they see on the box.
And if you think it’s just women who want their homes to look impressive then you couldn’t be more wrong. Forty per cent of men admit they are fanatical about furnishings, compared to a more modest 31 per cent of women. The average male forks out almost £500 on interior updates annually, £100 more than their female counterparts, and spends 16 working days per year – or ten hours each month – trawling the shops for items to update their homes.
Women in their 50s are the only group more obsessed with their homes than the average bloke, with one in five admitting to hitting homewares stores for 20 hours a month, averaging 45 minutes per day, and splurging nearly £600-a-year on their habit.
All of a sudden my cushion obsession doesn’t seem quite so out of control.