Responsible tenants in England with well-behaved pets will be able to rent properties more easily now that the government has amended its recommended tenancy agreement for landlords.
Under the new Model Tenancy Agreement, which was announced by Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, landlords cannot issue a blanket ban on pets.
What does it mean?
Under the new agreement, allowing pets will be the default position on the agreement, and landlords will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and give a good reason why a pet cannot live in their rental properties.
Figures in 2020 on pet ownership from The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals show that more than half of adults in the UK own a pet. But until now, only 7% of private landlords market pet-friendly properties, which means it can be hard for tenants to find suitable properties, and some have been forced to give up their pets.
Commenting on the changes, Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and over the last year more people than ever before have welcomed pets into their lives and homes.
“Through the changes to the tenancy agreement, we are bringing an end to the unfair blanket ban on pets introduced by some landlords. This strikes the right balance between helping more people find a home that’s right for them and their pet while ensuring landlords’ properties are safeguarded against inappropriate or badly behaved pets.
Can landlords still object to pets?
Landlords will need to have a valid reason to reject a pet request, such as in smaller properties where owning a pet could be impractical. Tenants will still have a legal duty to repair or pay for any damage to the rental property.
Looking for a pet-friendly property?
It is more difficult to find a rental if you are a pet owner, so:
- Allow more time to find the ideal property – you may need a larger property and outdoor space, for instance.
- Have references ready from previous landlords who have allowed your pet to live with you.
- When you meet letting agents/landlords be honest about your pet and reassure them that you are a responsible owner. Show them photos of your pet and information such as proof of ownership and your pet’s vaccination record.
- Having a good credit score – so the landlord has no other concerns – will also make it easier to secure a property.
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