One in three pet owners in the region struggle to find rented accommodation that will accept animals, according to research by charity The Dogs Trust.

And while househunters spend an average of seven weeks looking for a property, more than half of pet owners searched for between two months to more than a year.

There has also been a 56 per cent increase during the past five years in the number of people handing in dogs to the charity’s 17 re-homing centres, due to housing problems.

With this in mind, Lets with Pets was set up by The Dogs Trust two years ago to help owners find rented accommodation with their pets, by working with lettings agents and landlords to encourage them to consider pets in their homes.

Oxfordshire agencies signed up to the scheme include Scottfraser, Finders Keepers and Premier Oxford.

Tracey Hickford, of Scottfraser, said: “It could be very difficult for tenants with pets to find properties because landlords have always been very dubious about letting to people with pets but the Lets with Pets scheme protects both parties.

“If tenants with pets are looked after, they tend to stay longer which can be better for landlords.”

June Inglis, of Finders Keepers, added: “There is an automatic tendency for landlords to stipulate no pets, even when they are pet owners themselves, having been scared off by horror stories of pets damaging homes and gardens.

“The Lets with Pets contracts include common sense things that any responsible pet owner would do as a matter of course.

“We have agreed for tenants to remove a panel from a door and install a cat flap and make good at the end of the tenancy.”