Many people who rent their homes know how hard it is to find suitable properties where the landlord will also allow pets. Some tenants have even had to give pets up in order to find suitable properties to rent. From the side of the landlord the reasons for not allowing pets in their properties are understandable given that pets can cause a huge amount of damage to a property. This does, however, severely restrict animal lovers in their ability to find somewhere to rent. Under new rules being proposed by the Government, landlords might soon be forced to allow responsible tenants to keep well-behaved pets.
Currently only 7% of landlords advertise their properties as suitable for pets and the housing secretary has announced proposed changes to the model tenancy contracts, which form the basis of most lease agreements, to encourage landlords to accept well-behaved pets. It is noteworthy to understand that landlords are not legally bound to use the revised contracts.
The proposal is going to go through a consultation period where views from both landlords and tenants will be sought with a view of making it easier for tenants to have pets in rental properties whilst also protecting the landlord’s investment from harm by badly behaved pets and irresponsible owners.
The Government’s stance is clear and in a statement on the 4th of January the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said “Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owner’s through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property. So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract to encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners. And we will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both. This is part of this new government’s mission to improve life for tenants, recognising that more are renting and for longer in life. We’ve already taken action, banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits, saving tenants across England at least £240 million a year, and I will continue to take more steps to secure a better deal for renters up and down the country”
In the proposals, the details of which are still unknown, a total ban on owning pets would only be enforceable where there is a good reason such as smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical.
Although there is still a long way to go in the process, there is now at least some light at the end of the tunnel for pet owners who also rent their home. For landlord’s it appears there will soon be more legislation to contend with.