Pets in rental properties 3 Nov 2020
*** UPDATE ***
THE GOVERNMENT'S NEW MODEL TENANCY AGREEMENT
On 28th January the Government issued its updated Model Tenancy Agreement with consent for pets as the default position.
Landlords will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason.
Currently, just 7% of private landlords advertise pet friendly properties, meaning many people struggle to find suitable homes. In some cases, this has meant people have had to give up their pets all together.
The Model Tenancy Agreement is the government’s recommended contract for landlords. With figures showing that more than half of adults in the United Kingdom own a pet and many more welcoming pets into their lives during the pandemic, these changes mean more landlords will cater for responsible pet owners.
Under the new agreement, rejections should only be made where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. To ensure landlords are protected, tenants will continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property.
Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 landlords cannot refuse pets unless they have a legitimate reason. Currently we have a clause in our Tenancy Agreement which prohibits pets and requires tenants to request permission if they wish to keep a pet. Therefore, landlords can choose tenants without pets but this could become increasingly difficult and we will keep you updated.
One of the reasons we considered the flatfair Boost product is that it would increase the amount of protection to a further six weeks which could cover pet damage and therefore offer reassurance to landlord considering accepting pets.
The Conservative Romford MP, Andrew Rosindell, has recently introduced a Private Member’s Bill that would strictly reduce the right of landlords or their agents to include ‘no pets’ policies for their properties.
The Bill has the backing of animal organisations including the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
It’s now been agreed that its Second Reading will be on January 29, 2021, when MPs will debate the main principles of the Bill.
Rosindell says he is recognising the concerns of landlords by insisting renters demonstrate they are “responsible owners” with a suggested checklist including a vet’s confirmation that their pet is vaccinated and spayed or neutered, free of parasites and responsive to basic training commands in the case of dogs.
In cases where the renter proves they are a “responsible owner”, and the accommodation is suitable for their pet, the right to take a pet into rented property would be assumed. In his ‘First Reading introduction to the Bill’ in the Commons last month, Rosindell said: “Dogs are more than man’s best friend, they are equal members of the family and, for most people, being separated from your dog is really no different than being separated from your brother or sister”.
Many of our landlords happily accept pets and, in general, I find that pets do not cause damage during a tenancy.
- Find out about pet rentals at Wills and Smerdon here.
- Best practice guide for landlords offering pet rentals.