Pets can no longer be automatically banned from rental properties, according to the new model tenancy agreement launched by the government.
The model agreement is the template the government recommends landlords use as the basis for contracts with tenants. The new version prohibits a blanket ban on pets, and makes the process of barring some tenants from owning animals possible - but cumbersome.
Landlords now need to object to any written request to be allowed a pet. They must do so in writing and within 28 days of the request, providing a good reason. This could be that the property is too small for the proposed pet, or that the lease conditions prohibit it, for example.
With only 7% of landlords advertising properties as pet friendly, housing minister, Christopher Pincher, explained the move: “It can’t be right that only a tiny fraction of landlords advertise pet-friendly properties and, in some cases, people have had to give up their beloved pets in order to find somewhere to live. We are bringing an end to the unfair blanket ban on pets introduced by some landlords.”
But the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has hit back, demanding more flexibility around pet-friendly tenancies.
A statement from the NRLA says: “We recognise the importance of pets in providing companionship, especially to those living on their own. However, pets are not always suitable in certain properties such as large dogs in small flats without gardens. There is often more of a risk of damage to a property where there is a pet.”
The association has called for a review of deposits to reflect the greater risk to property if pets are allowed.
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