Pets in rentals:

The new government is to bring forward a bill to revolutionise the relationship between tenants and landlords. The Section 21 no-fault eviction system is to be abolished, a Lifetime Deposit scheme will be introduced, and landlords will be expected to allow pets, when they are well behaved.

Full details are still sketchy about the new regime envisaged by government, but a good deal of information, and the general direction of travel, can be gleaned from the government’s guide, “A new deal for renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants”

Further clues are in the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick’s press announcement of 4th of January calling on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their rental homes, the new rules to be included in his forthcoming overhaul of the government supplied model residential tenancy agreement.

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“More young people and families than ever before are renting and should be able to enjoy the happiness that a pet can bring to their lives. However, currently only around 7% of landlords advertise homes as suitable for pets, meaning many people struggle to find a home suitable for themselves and their pets.

The national model tenancy agreement provided by government is the recommended contract for residential landlords to use when signing on new tenants for their properties in England. This comprehensive circa 50 page agreement (with guidance text) sets out the minimum requirements for a new residential letting. The template has provision for alteration by landlords to suit specific circumstances, tenants or properties. The revised model tenancy agreement will be published by the government sometime this year.

Currently it is difficult for would-be tenants to find a landlord who allows tenants to keep a dog or cat, with just 7% of landlords said to advertise their homes as suitable for pets. Landlords argue that there are good reasons for this: badly behaved pets can potentially cause hundreds of pounds worth of damage, a fact which many landlords have learned to their cost. The introduction of pets, sometimes without permission or agreement between the parties, is often cause of friction between landlords and tenants.

The government is accused of making the situation more difficult for landlords taking in pets, by removing their ability to protect themselves financially by banning their taking of additional damage deposits and fees – by capping deposits at 5 week’s rent.

Despite this, the government is now calling on landlords to make it easier for people to have pets in rented homes: “Landlords should no longer stop renters from having pets if they are well behaved, according to the government,” says Robert Jenrick MP:

“Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owner’s through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property.

“So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract to encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners. And we will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both.

“This is part of this new government’s mission to improve life for tenants, recognising that more are renting and for longer in life. We’ve already taken action, banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits, saving tenants across England at least £240 million a year, and I will continue to take more steps to secure a better deal for renters up and down the country.”

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5 COMMENTS

  1. This is another example of government idiocy, masquerading as well thought out ideas – a common feature of modern governments.
    How are landlords to know if a pet is well behaved before a tenancy is entered into with a tenant?

    But many private landlords already know what the long term aim is of the government, with a very lengthy list of ridiculous, onerous & very burdensome demands and changes, which is to force them out of the sector.
    The beneficiaries of these changes are and will be the large build-to-rent operators, who can more easily shoulder these burdens, or perhaps they will, quietly, not be required to observe them.

  2. How do you tell if a pet is well behaved? And when the pet is not ‘well behaved’ how do you get rid of it when there is no longer Section 21? and remember – no pet deposit is allowed!!

  3. This is just ridiculous – just another example of young minions and Ministers in government formulating tenant friendly policy who have never let a property in their lives. They have absolutely no idea, not a clue of the practicalities of letting and the financial risks private landlords take, or the behaviour that otherwise quite respectable tenants can exhibit when it comes to the way they live.
    Unless, that is, there is a hidden agenda of dissuasion, because this is bound to be just another nail in the coffin for many private landlords.
    Any landlord that’s experienced the damage a pet can do to a property, if they are not properly managed by tenants, will look in horror at this suggestion. I’ve had to replace all the carpets in one flat because of stinking cat pee, from just one unauthorised kitten. How do you protect yourself from that Mr Minister, when you have capped the damage deposit at 5 weeks rent? Answer me that then! How do you know in advanced that a kitten will be well behaved, won’t claw all the table legs and settee fabric, won’t pee on the bathroom carpets, won’t stink the whole house out?
    Fine, lets accept pets but have proper scrutiny, and lets have some form of protection – if the pet destroys the carpets and furniture, introduces fleas and stinks the place out so it’s un-lettable, who pays? Who pays for the repairs and the extended void period. Who compensates the landlord for a lingering smell that makes it difficult to re-let? Will you underwrite this cost Mr Minister when the tenant can’t pay it. When you take them to court, get a CCJ and are awarded a £10 per week payment in settlement for a £2,000 re-reinstatement bill. Get real Mr Minister.

  4. John has expressed my thoughts exactly. My now ex tenant kept the dog in the conservatory where it pood and peed soaking the laminate beyond cleaning (when the laminate was removed it was so wet it actually bent), bounced around in its poo and jumped up at the two wooden doors on the conservatory scraping the wood and covering the lower half of both doors in poo. The pee has soaked into the skirting boards and 4 weeks later, having tried every product on the market, the stench of dog detritus still lingers and stings the eyes. The skirting boards might well have to be removed, but to remove the skirting boards the piping for the radiator will have to be removed. This (and the rest of the damage caused by the tenant and the dog, and the burst fish tank) is all costing me a lot of money in repairs and lost rent. The tenant is unemployed. Who’s going to may for this Mr Minister?

  5. You are all correct, there is a high proportion of tenants that cause problems and our laws do not help the landlord at all. I’ve been renting for forty years and have taken quite a few tenants to court but have never recovered any of the £10 per month awarded by the court. The system itself is all weighted towards action and cost being taken by the Landlord with little action required on the part of the tenant. Any change in circumstances to the, by now ex-tenants circumstances , requires another visit to court. If you are a good Landlord which of course we never hear about then the law does not work for you. There’s been a mass of new legislation but none of it to help the Landlord in any way. perhaps our outdated civil laws need to be looked at and proper debt legislation for renting put in place.

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