Peers in the House of Lords have rounded on the government to encourage landlords to be more pet-friendly.

Lord Black of Brentwood started the debate to discover what ministers plan to do to help those tenants who couldn’t keep animals in a rental property.

It follows the recent failure of Andrew Rosindell MP’s Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill which set out to mandate landlords to take tenants with pets.

His Conservative colleague in the House of Lords, Lord Lexden, implored the government to consider the importance that Winston Churchill attached to his pets, including budgies that flew round his bedroom.

He asked: “Would not the great man have been distressed that so many landlords are denying their tenants the companionship that loyal pets provide?”

Bear down

Lord Lexden urged the government to bear down on the landlords who weren’t using the revised national model tenancy agreements, while Lord Singh of Wimbledon said having a pet helped to mitigate enforced isolation during the pandemic.

“A more collaborative approach between landlords and tenants in keeping tenants happy and property in good condition would benefit both,” he added.

Minister’s reply

lord greenhalgh

Housing Minister Lord Greenhalgh (pictured) wouldn’t be drawn on suggestions that the government should encourage wider use of pet CVs, but promised it would continue to work with private landlords to ensure that the agreement was more widely adopted in the sector.

He agreed that a collaborative approach was needed: “The purpose of agreement is not to place a blanket ban on pets, and to consider each pet on a case by case basis,” he added. “I encourage landlords to work with tenants to ensure that there’s a solution that works for both parties.”

Agents’ response

rent arrears

Timothy Douglas, Propertymark’s Policy and Campaigns Manager says: “We recognise that renting with pets can make properties more desirable, encourage tenants to rent for longer and tackle issues such as loneliness, but policy makers must recognise the effect of the UK Government’s decision to cap Tenancy Deposits under the Tenant Fees Act.

“Even the best-behaved pets can have an impact on a property, therefore landlords and letting agents need to be able to safeguard against damage.

“A number of ideas including raising the deposit, pet referencing and insurance were raised by Parliamentarians and if the UK Government are serious about encouraging more private landlords to allow responsible tenants to keep pets in their rented properties, then they must have a greater understanding of the costs involved and implement rules that support the sector to take on greater risk.”


  1. Until there is adequate protection of my asset from the damage caused by pets I do not understand why it is anyone’s decision but mine to accept or refuse pets. Removing the ability to take an additional pet deposit is has only made the decision not to accept pets easier.

  2. I’m sure Winston Churchill wouldn’t have left budgie shite all over the place for the landlord to clean up, and if he had of done so he would have had assets worth chasing in court. These do-gooders Like Lord Black annoy the hell out of me. They don’t seem to have a clue about the real issues at hand and just spout uninformed populist clap-trap. The Tory party is fast becoming New Labour.

    • I was about to post exactly the same comment! Perhaps Lord Black could attend some properties that have been trashed due to so called ‘pet loving’ owners letting the pets run riot.

      I have a lovely link on Youtube called nightmare tenants, which shows a property I took back, where the floors across multiple rooms is cover in dog feaces.

      Lord Black needs to come down to reality, clearly he thinks the great british public are all just like Winston Churchill.

      Honestly, these guys are so out of touch with the real world its untrue.

      • Perhaps he could also visit those of us who have pets and respect ours and the property of the landlord. Many of us do you know!

  3. So was Winston Churchill renting his house from a private sector landlord?

    Besides that, he’s dead, no longer in an elected position of power & so his opinion is no longer relavent.

    If that is the argument for forcing lanlords to allow pets into their freshly renovated properties then may god help us all.

  4. 1 Churchill was an owner not a tenant therefore was freely at liberty to have birds Sh*t all over his house… doubtless it fell to the cleaner to sort out the mess.
    2. The plumber that works for my agent was recently attacked by two dogs on a recent call out to a property… that is the REALITY of pets.
    3. If pets caused zero damage there would be no need for pet insurance, it exists simply because pets DO cause damage.
    4. If faced with a legally enforceable mandate that I MUST take a tenant with pets then I would immediately sell up and move to another investment vehicle.
    *The only safe pet is the one in the taxidermist’s window.

  5. I am a dog lover and we have a number of dogs at home – that is my decision and my own responsibility as a pet and home owner. However, once I rented one of my two rental flats to a dog owner – never again! The smell in the carpet could never be completely eliminated though it can be temporarily disguised with air freshners when the tenant checks out and the inventory is done. The next tenant complained about the odour and we had no choice but to rip out the carpet and replace. Dogs have accidents, even the best behaved ones. The ‘damage’ caused by pets is not always immediately apparent. If acceptance of pets became mandatory I would seriously consider selling both properties.

  6. I had a tenant, who described his six dogs living with him in a one bedroom flat – yes thats right six large dogs – as his children.

    Funny though, he abandoned the flat including his six ‘children’ (dogs), and never returned.

    The dogs had to be removed over several weeks by the RSPCA before it could be returned to ourselves.

    Perhaps Lord Black could take a moment to come down from the clouds, where everything is fine and smells of roses, take a look at the real world, and stop thinking everyone is like Winston Churchill.

  7. I have a straightforward view, which is that owning a property should give me the right to decide who I want to rent it to, and once both parties sign a contract, both parties should honour it. The landlord is taking all the risks and should have the right to discriminate as they see fit. They are investors trying to get a return on their assets, not charities trying to help disadvantaged people, and whether they wish to accept pets should be a commercial decision.

  8. I do feel that pet ownership is being taken away from anyone who rents privately. We are good tenants. We pay, we are clean and we are responsible. We recently had to leave our rented property as the elderly owner is selling it because she’s been affected by Covid financially; fair enough. The house was immaculate when we left and has been placed straight onto market, hours after we left. To find accommodation after that and post lockdown, can only what can be described as the most horrific and stressful time in my life. No one wants pets and the rental market is awash with fresh evictions and landlords needing to sell for whatever reason. I have two elderly cats. I have had them for 15 years; almost a quarter of my life. I have a stressful job, dealing with people who often go on to take their own lives regularly. And I’ve had to do this job, working from home since March 2020. Who would take 15 year old cats? And how would I deal with losing them. I honestly felt as though I was going to have to lose them. For every bad tenant, there is a bad landlord and for every bad tenant there are 100s of good ones. PLEASE don’t tar us all with the same brush. Many of us are law abiding people who really do not deserve to be branded as irresponsible and reckless. Campaign for a pet fee once more. But please don’t treat tenants with contempt, which is how it feels right now.


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