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.

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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.”

Visit Advocats.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Requiring a tenant to take out pet insurance would break the law under the Tenant Fees Act. It would not persuade me to take pets since as a LL I would be fighting the policy holder & the insurer to get compensation for damage done by a pet.

    The simple answer is to allow a separate pet deposit and to let LLs choose whether they will accept pets or not – plenty of us do.

  2. No. It won’t work. The tenant will get the insurance for the minimum time then cancel it or not renew it.

    The amount of damage pets can cause runs into thousands of pounds with loss of rent while the property is being repaired.

  3. Absolutely agree with the comment above. Having spent the last Christmas cleaning up after previous tenant who had a puppy without permission and removing 2O plus bags of waste from the once immaculate garden there is no way I will allow myself or property to be disrespected in this way again. Not to mention missing furniture and the decoration done without permission, (very badly)
    Result loss of money and a great deal of heartache for me and the tenant walks away .

  4. I am sorry that you have had a problem with your previous tenant who had a puppy without your permission. This is irresponsible behaviour of your tenant ( not the puppy) and does nothing to improve the prospects for responsible pet owner tenants (like myself). I rent properties and always ‘come clean’ that I have a cat that I would like to be considered as suitable and would be prepared to pay an increased bond to cover this fact – and as a cleaner would be prepared to clean the carpets on moving out of the property! I have rented successfully for over 20 years – but have noticed a change in the way that landlords view pets over the last 3 years! Is this because landlords have had bad experiences? Is it because young people view pets differently? I do not know the answer to these questions but believe the positives of pet ownership far outweigh the negatives and would ask you as landlords to take this into account when renting one of your properties out – not to view all pets as bad – but tenants are good in the main – and currently have to put up with the view that their pets are not good! A pet is the responsibility of its owner and referencing will show up what the tenant is like as well at their pet! Please take this into account as it is becoming IMPOSSIBLE to rent a property if you have a pet and this is unjust and unfair to responsible pet owners!

    • One of the key aspects to being a landlord is managing risk. Whilst 9 out of 10 pet owners will be responsible, all the due diligence in the world is no guarantee of exposing the 1 in 10 we have to worry about, certainly not before it’s too late and the damage has been done. It is not dissimilar to any other risk-based service, such as car insurance, where risk categories are lumped together even though only a small percentage will ever be the subject of a claim. And here’s the rub; if landlords are forced to allow pets and are unable to confidently mitigate fully against the individual risk, we will pass-on any costs by way of general rent increases to ALL tenants. So ALL tenants will end up having to pay for the increased risk posed by pet owners.

    • The amount of deposit a landlord can take is now limited to 5 weeks’ rent so you wouldn’t be able to give a higher deposit although this is an obvious solution, or at least part of the solution. As a landlord I’ve had terrible experiences with tenants’ pets and it’s cost me thousands and thousands of pounds in damage and filth. Every single pet has caused damage including fish, birds and a tortoise. The amount of dog dirt I’ve had to clear up as well as urine soaked flooring you just wouldn’t believe! Never again! All my properties are no pets.
      My tenancy agreements now have a clause that reads something like ‘all pets, whether agreed or not will incur a rent increase of £x pcm per pet’.

  5. I can see a bunch of issues:

    – If a tenant has no risk of financial penalty they will be less inclined to be responsible and meet their obligations.
    – A tenant who has paid a premium may feel entitled to claim such as leaving the place in a mess upon check-out.
    – Presumably, any claim would be in the landlords name leading to increased premiums for future tenants pet insurance or existing tenants’ renewals, plus the possibly of increased premiums for all other insurance products the landlord requires such as building and contents.
    – What happens in the event renewal is refused or premiums are too expensive, for example if the tenant has been the subject of multiple claims? Can they be evicted?

    I imagine there would also be other issues I have not thought of. To me, such an idea is not viable.

    No claims

  6. Far easier to say No Pets just like No DSS.
    Things have been made more awkward by Govt so LL are better off just refusing pets.

    Still plenty of tenants without pets.
    So much easier to manage.

    The TFB has had many negative effects for tenants.
    It has made life easier for LL.
    Simply No DSS or no tenants with limited entitlement to welfare
    No pets

    Job done

  7. Dear Nwad, I in no way blame the puppy for the mess. I have reports from neighbours after tenant vacated that the puppy had been left for hours on end inside property which is animal cruelty. In actual fact I have a rescue animal and have cared for her for many years. I understand the joy they bring. I have other experiences not just the one above with irresponsible pet owners. I am running a business and cannot afford financially or mentally and physically to clean up after another irresponsible pet owner and have decided to sell up and get out now. Our own daughter rents one of our properties and she is not allowed a pet although she would love one. Incidentally the guarantor for the property a local councillor refused our request to see damage done.

  8. No ‘one-size-fits-all’ solutions ever work. We have a lovely tenant at the moment entering her second year with two indoor cats. There have been no problems there at all. On the other hand, we have had past tenants who kept dogs, snakes and heaven-knows-what without permission. Interestingly, the trouble always came from long-term DSS tenants. With absolutely no exceptions. We have rented in the past ourselves, with several animals, and had to take some very poor quality property because of that. We always left it in a better condition than we received it! If it seems unfair, it is because a property proprietor cannot tell in advance whether they are renting to a decent person who is prepared to accept their responsibilities as both a pet-owner and a tenant, or whether they have just opened the door to a financial and mental-health nightmare. Even references cannot be entirely relied upon. Now that it is harder than ever to remove a problem tenant, who can blame property proprietors for wanting to avoid what could be an expensive and heartbreaking risk? Most of them will agree that companion animals are far nicer than humans – and would probably be much happier having the animals if the owners stayed well away! – but it is the human that we have to deal with. If dogs paid rent I’d have them over humans any day.

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