More tenants living in flats could find themselves unable to have a pet than those in a house under the Renters Reform Bill, warns the founder of a campaigning group.
Giving evidence to the Bill committee in Parliament, Jen Berezai, founder of voluntary group Advocats, an advice service for landlords and tenants, explained that the main reasonable excuse for landlords refusing a pet was likely to be a head lease on a leasehold property.
“I understand the head lease legislation is superior to that proposed by the Bill, so if there’s a head lease on a property that prohibits pets, that will be a reasonable excuse,” she told MPs.
“As 20% of housing stock in the UK is flats that is going to impact a lot of tenants.”
She added that pet-friendly landlords usually charged pet rent, on average £25 per pet, per month which worked out at £300 a year extra, but that an insurance policy would cover the address and work out cheaper, starting from £15 a month, with greater cover.
Berezai said giving landlords the ability to either say ‘you must hold pet damage insurance or I’m going to charge you for it’ would make a difference to many of those who were currently on the fence about allowing pets in their property.
She also suggested that there should be a tick box on rental search portals for those properties which would ‘consider’ pets rather than simply saying yes or no to pets.
“Each case needs to be considered on its own merits.” She added: “Vet referencing should definitely be used to demonstrate responsible pet ownership. If an animal is microchipped, vaccinated, neutered, flea and worm treated, that rules out the majority of anti-social behaviour.”