A webinar being held by MP Andrew Rosindell tomorrow is to debate whether landlords should be allowed to ask tenants with dogs or cats to take out pet insurance before moving into a property.
The idea will be proposed by pet activist Jennifer Berezai, who runs a not-for-profit organisation called AdvoCats that helps tenants put together mini ‘pet passports’ for landlords.
She will be speaking during the webinar at 9.30am tomorrow alongside a high-profile panel that will include broadcaster Anna Webb, New Statesman journalist Rachel Cunliff, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Peter Laurie and renowned ‘companion animal studies’ academic Dr Elizabeth Ormerod.
Berezai says her organisation, AdvoCats, has spent several months researching whether requiring tenants to take out insurance could be the most sensible way to solve the UK’s pet renting problem.
At the moment there are two other initiatives. These are Rosindell’s Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill better known as ‘Jasmine’s law’ after a famous case.
It sets out to mandate landlords to take tenants with pets but has little hope of becoming law after the government suspended the Friday slots in parliament set aside for Ten Minute bills like his ‘due to Covid’.
A second initiative, the government’s recently-updated Model Tenancy Agreement, which is a watered-down version of the Rosindell bill. But it’s not mandatory.
Tomorrow Berezai (pictured) will propose a ‘third way’ – that the government amend the Tenant Fees Act to allow pet rental insurance premiums as ‘permitted payments’ alongside deposits, rent and holding deposits. This would allow landlords and letting agents to charge for pet insurance.
“We want to raise awareness that this is a very real problem,” she tell LandlordZONE.
“The number of people renting is going up and yet it is still very difficult in many places for tenants with pets to find accommodation and the Jasmine’s law campaign, which Andrew’s bill is part of, is trying to change that situation.”