The long-awaited Renters (Reform) Bill will finally be introduced in parliament after Prime Minister's Questions today.
Setting out plans for 12 key reforms to the private rental sector, the 11th pledge - to give tenants the right in law to request a pet, which should not be unreasonably refused, whilst allowing a landlord to stipulate that tenant must hold pet damage insurance - has its roots in a campaign run by East Midlands based pets charity AdvoCATSeastmids.
This is a great day, not just for pet-owning tenants and those aspiring to have animal companions, but also for landlords who may wish to consider pets but saw too big a financial risk until now.
The inclusion of pet reform amongst the other big issues detailed in the bill is a welcome recognition of the importance and value of pets in our lives, and we look forward to seeing the new proposed legislation make its way through the parliamentary process and become law.
Our Heads for Tails! report & campaign of the same name brought a wide cross section of big names from the PRS and the animal welfare world together under an umbrella movement to amend the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and make renting with pets easier for both landlords and tenants.
The campaign also secured cross-party political support from over 40 MPs and Peers. You can read the full report here.
The Tenant Fees Act set a deposit cap of 5 weeks' worth of rent as the maximum a landlord could request, with only a few exceptions that were detailed as permitted payments, and was introduced to regulate a growing trend for seemingly limitless fees and deposits that tenants had to pay and find.
The "unintended consequence" of this legislation was landlords ceasing to allow pets in their properties, as they felt they would be unable to protect themselves against possible pet damage costs.
AdvoCATS worked tirelessly to bolster support for their report's key recommendation of amending the list of permitted payments to include pet damage insurance, and, since the bill was finally announced last year, have been involved with various working groups, including those chaired by Battersea Cats & Dogs Home and The Lettings Hub, looking into how the bill's proposals could work in practice.
Jen Berezai is founder of AdvoCATS and author of the report.