The Government has said it intends to allow landlords to either charge tenants with cats or dogs pet insurance at the beginning of tenancies or request that they take out a policy themselves before moving in.
This announcement has been made within a response from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to a parliament select committee investigation into its rental reform proposals.
This means both landlords and letting agents will be able to ensure a property is insured against damage caused by pets including, the most common, claw damage to wooden floors and furniture.
Although Ministers have given this assurance, it has refused to relax its plans to require landlords to take pets unless the animals involved are not suitable for the property – i.e. a huge dog in a small flat, other tenants with phobias or allergies and whether a property has common parts.
The legal test will be if a landlord’s refusal to take a pet is ‘unreasonable’ but will also cover more technical matters including when a building’s freeholder has banned pets within their head lease terms.
“While a tenant may challenge a decision, they have no automatic right to keep the pet if the landlord initially refuses,” the Government says.
“The tenant would not be permitted to keep the pet unless and until the Ombudsman or court ruled that the landlord had been unreasonable.”
But one measure that hasn’t made it through is enabling landlords to charge ‘extra rent’ for pets, something several leading figures suggested would be a simpler alternative to insurance.
This latest Government commentary follows months of pressure from pet charities and experts warning that many tenants find it hard to find landlords who will allow pets within their properties.