If it is happening in America, the chances are that it will happen here soon. So, watch out for London apartment blocks where there are ‘doggy day-care centres’ – designated spaces, where dog-owners can leave their pooches to be pampered, while they go out to work. Spas for spaniels. Creches for corgis. One indulgent yappy hour for man’s best friend.
Such upmarket doggy day-care centres are becoming increasingly common in America, particularly in states such as Florida. Apartment blocks are vying with each other to offer the most pet-friendly facilities. Animals who would once have been turned away at the door are being welcomed with open arms – because, in a nutshell, the market is demanding it.
“How many people looking for a rental property are going to give up their pets if they find their perfect home, but are told pets are not allowed?” asks Nicola Merry, Lettings Manager at Kay & Co and the proud owner of a Basset hound. “They will just resume their search until they find a property that does not have such restrictions.”
In central London, as in the UK generally, dogs are more welcome in some places than others. We claim to be a nation of dog-lovers, but you are more likely to see a Chihuahua in a restaurant in Paris than you are in a restaurant in London. The onus is on dog-owners to demonstrate that their dogs are well-behaved, and the owners can sometimes feel like a beleaguered minority as a result.
In rental properties, says Nicola Merry, different landlords insert slightly different pet clauses in rental contracts, depending on the size and character of a property. “It is quite common for dogs to be tolerated in ground-floor apartments, but only tolerated on the upper floors if they are small enough to be fitted into a handbag.” So, owners of Irish wolfhounds looking for a penthouse to rent might be disappointed.
Landlords also like to satisfy themselves that dogs will not be left alone in apartments for long periods of time and potentially disturb the neighbours. “If tenants are working from home, there is not usually a problem,” adds Merry. “But if they are going out to work, and their unattended dogs prove a nuisance to other tenants, they could be faced with eviction.”
The doggy day-care centre, Florida style, is not yet a feature of London apartment blocks, but it is an interesting idea that may catch on here. But for now, incoming tenants with dogs will ask for recommendations about professional dog-walkers in the area, in the same way that they ask for recommended cleaners. The sight of a dog-walker struggling to keep four dogs on the leash is a familiar sight in the capital. But when the owners are back from work, then they can take their dogs to London’s beautiful parks, whether it is Regent’s Park near Marylebone or Hyde Park near Connaught Village.
Equally encouraging, if you are a dog-owner, is the increasing number of rental properties (see the three listed below) where dogs are welcome, and landlords will go the extra mile to accommodate pet-lovers. There is a flexible rental market ready to accommodate them in live-and-let-love London.
Best in show: homes to rent
• Here is a house to rent on Wyndham Street, Marylebone with five bedrooms and a garden. For more details, visit here.
• This lower ground floor apartment on Queen Anne Street, Marylebone, has two bedrooms and its own private patio. For more details, visit here.
• It is rare to find a new build, where it is advertised as pet friendly. This apartment to rent on Vauxhall Bridge Road, Victoria, has a large terrace and is open-plan throughout. For more details, visit here.
• Contact Kay & Co estate agents for details of properties for sale or to rent in Marylebone, Bayswater, Paddington, Notting Hill, Mayfair, Hyde Park, Fitzrovia, Regents Park and The West End (020 7262 2030; Kay & Co).