Landlords could soon be legally prevented from imposing blanket pet bans on their tenants, if the government’s new Renters Reform Bill passes through parliament.
The white paper, published on 16 June, includes a clause, which would give tenants the right to ask their landlord for permission to keep a cat, dog or other animal. The landlord would not be able to refuse the request without a good reason.
Only seven per cent of landlords currently allow pets in their rental homes, yet huge numbers of tenants would like to have this option - with demand having increased since the first lockdown.
Campaigners calling for a change in the law around pets in rented properties have included Conservative MP for Romford, Andrew Rosindell. His private member’s bill proposed a “Jasmine’s Law” - named after a dog who couldn’t stay with her owner because of a no-pets tenancy clause.
The government previously changed its model tenancy agreement to make allowing pets the default position. However, use of the agreement is voluntary among landlords.
The main reason landlords object to cats and dogs is damage to property. The Tenant Fees Act of 2019 prevented landlords from demanding extra security deposits from owners to cover them for destructive pets. The bill would change the law so landlords can require renters to take out pet insurance policies.
Chris Norris, Policy Director for the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “It is vital that the law takes a common-sense approach to pets and reflects that fact that some properties, such as flats without gardens, may not be suitable for certain types of pets.”
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