A new tech platform that automates the lettings process is aiming to help buy-to-let landlords offer pet-friendly rentals while still being covered financially, as thousands of Britons look for a pet to keep themselves company through lockdown.

PlanetRent was launched earlier this year, having been developed in-house by residential property consultancy Ringley Group as part of a £2m investment into creating tech products specifically for the residential market.

The platform allows landlords and agents to generate a fully-compliant tenancy agreement with a standardised pet-friendly clause in just minutes, which includes a fixed, transparent monthly charge to help cover the costs of keeping a pet in the home.

LIS Show – MPU

While some 44 per cent of people in the UK own a pet, only 7 per cent of buy-to-let investors advertise their property as suitable for pets, as many are concerned about the maintenance costs or insurance implications of housing tenants with pets, meaning it is often hard for animal lovers to find the right home.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has seen an increase in the number of people looking for a pet for companionship, with dog breeders especially reporting a massive increase in interest. The Kennel Club group, recently reported a 180% increase in inquiries over the last year.

Many build-to-rent landlords – owners or operators of purpose-built, professionally managed apartment blocks designed specifically for rent – welcome pets in their buildings, including Grainger plc, Moda Living and Rise.

Unless buy-to-let landlords change their approach to pet-friendly rentals, they risk losing customers, Mary-Anne Bowring, founder of both Ringley Group and PlanetRent, warns.

Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley and creator of PlanetRent.co.uk, said: “It’s cliché to say but Britain is undoubtedly a nation of animal lovers, as the surge of interest in having a pet dog or cat as a companion during lockdown has proven.

“While pets are typically associated with higher maintenance costs, landlords risk fishing from an ever-smaller pond by refusing to accommodate renters with pets, especially as the big institutional and corporate landlords entering Britain’s rental market are typically pet-friendly in their developments

“To make life easier for tenants and landlords, our new PlanetRent platform, which automates virtually the entire letting journey, gives landlords the option to generate pet-friendly contracts in minutes with a standardised clause that includes an additional regular charge that helps cover the cost of having pets in your property,

Ringley Group, which is headquartered in London with an office in Manchester, manages thousands of homes across the country and has advised major residential investors such as Patrizia, Curlew and Moda Living.

The group’s PlanetRent platform connects agents, landlords, tenants, contractors, accountants and any site staff by giving each their own portal to access the platform and the data they need, enabling them to transact from the comfort and safety of their home.

PlanetRent allows all key documents and files to be accessed virtually and enables fully-compliant contracts to be generated in seconds that can be e-signed by landlords, tenants and agents.

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