The government has hardened its position on the hurdles that tenants will have to clear before a landlord needs to allow pets into their property.

Answering a written question from MP Rachael Maskell (pictured) about what constitutes a good reason for landlords to decline a pet ownership request from a tenant, Housing Minister Christopher Pincher (pictured training a police dog, main pic) provided a more detailed explanation using the revised Model Tenancy Agreement, that should give landlords a little more leeway.

He replied: “A good reason for a landlord to decline a pet ownership request would be where a pet is demonstrably poorly behaved or unsuited for the premises in question, for example, a large dog in a small flat, or where other tenants have allergies to animals.”

The minister has gone further than the agreement, which instead notes that, ‘The landlord should accept such a request where they are satisfied the tenant is a responsible pet owner and the pet is of a kind that is suitable in relation to the nature of the premises at which it will be kept.’

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Revised agreement

Pincher added: “The revised agreement provides that a private landlord who chooses to use the agreement should accept a request from a tenant to keep pets where they are satisfied the tenant is a responsible pet owner and the pet is of a kind that is suitable in relation to the nature of the premises at which it will be kept.

“It aims to remove restrictions on responsible tenants with pets, encouraging landlords who use the agreement to offer greater flexibility in their approach to pet ownership.”

Many landlords are concerned that the new guidelines force them to accept pets, however, the new terms and conditions are voluntary.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Pincher added: “The revised agreement provides that a private landlord who chooses to use the agreement should accept a request from a tenant to keep pets where they are satisfied the tenant is a responsible pet owner and the pet is of a kind that is suitable in relation to the nature of the premises at which it will be kept.

    How does a landlord become satisfied that a tenant is a responsible pet owner? If a prospective tenant lives further than a landlord is allowed to travel or can travel, to visit the prospective tenant and pet, how can a landlord be satisfied?

    What if the tenant doesn’t have any pets and wants one or some? How can the landlord be satisfied that the tenants is a responsible pet owner? How can the tenant demonstrate this?

  2. Yet another stupid, ill thought out comment from the housing minister. It would appear to call on landlords to by psychic to be able to know if heir tenants would be responsible per owners or their pets well behaved.

    Present this in as many different ways as you’d like most landlords wont be happy to be bullied into accepting pets in their properties if they don’t want to.

  3. Put the onus on the tenant to prove they are responsible and their pet is well behaved not on a LL to prove otherwise.

    These ‘proofs’ are so subjective that there are in fact a meaningless addition to the wording.

  4. I keep asking the same question – what happens when it all goes wrong, and there is nothing but complete silence. If I am forced to take the increased risk of a pet in my property, I need a redress process that allows me to recover the costs. When ministers come out with stupid responses such as ‘Landlords are able to take larger deposits to cover the risk as long as they are not greater than the 5 week cap’ it makes them look both stupid and unwilling to listen to reason.

    I have tenants with pets, I have also refused them in some situations, for example where a tenant wants a 6 month agreement in a large 3 bed house that has just cost me £2,500 to re-carpet. Sorry, but the government just keep piling the risk onto landlords and removing any kind of redress by effectively closing the court and bailiff system to them.

    • I totally agree.

      I use the mantra “Where are you going and how are you going to get there” also “You can’t predict the future”. Tenants need to take responsibility for their lifestyle and any future changes that cannot be known (forget about predicted or guesswork) at the start of the tenancy. It is not the Landlords job or responsibility to micro manage every tenant. Besides they do not what an inspection every week/month to check on the property condition.

  5. Pets are difficult in all situations. Even a small Gerbil or Hamster is a problem. in this case Landlords need to be aware that Rodents do not have any bladder control, they are in a constant state or urinating everywhere. Cats and Dogs may at one time seem perfectly well behaved but can easily change their habits. What happens if the pet is accidently shut in a room overnight, it will relieve itself when it has to … and this new location can become a habitual toilet. Cats are cleaner than dogs, but they throw-up sick on the carpet virtually every night, when they produce “Fur Balls”, which is more common at different times of the year. Have you ever heard of a dog owner keeping the front door open because they cannot fit a “Cat Flap” that is big enough to let the pet out into the garden when it needs to go.

    The only fair solution is for pet owners to take responsibility with higher deposits and a rent surcharge. A well behaved tenant without a pet should not be penalised by legislation that does not differentiate between tenants with and without pets.

  6. Not had one good experience letting a property with pets. Damage to carpets, woodwork, odour, problems with neighbouring properties. It doesn’t matter how much they promise to be a responsible pet owner, once they are in, it’s getting them out that’s a problem and no chance of being reimbursed for the damage.

  7. The damage is done by the time you can prove that the pet is “demonstrably badly behaved”. Then how do you get the tenant out once you have proved that – it will cost £ 000’s and you still may not succeed. Not the dog’s fault – bored, frustrated, lonely, under-exercised, being left by itself in a house all day long – it’s the owners that are badly behaved towards their poor dogs! I have been letting properties for 30 years and have only had one good pet dog experience and that was with a retired lady who was home all day.

  8. “should accept a request from a tenant to keep pets where they are satisfied the tenant is a responsible pet owner and the pet is of a kind that is suitable in relation to the nature of the premises at which it will be kept”
    So I have a form asking for a series of onerous demands with testimonials from vets, a history of landlords approving of their behaviour with pets, indications they have extra pet insurances. In addition, any property with neighbours would not be suitable for a cat or dog since I can get the neighbours to tell me they object to having cats and dogs next door.
    This is a major win for landlords who want to protect their local reputation and quality of their property and exercise their right to choose who lives in their house.

  9. Sadly Landlords will be forced to follow social housing and just let properties with out floor coverings, white goods, cooker etc – in fact a bare shell – council tenants accept this – so I think private tenants will shortly have to accept the government has crushed the nice landlord who wanted to offer them a cosy furnished home!!!

  10. There must be many landlords like me who are leaseholders. There’s a clause in my lease that specifies “no pets”.
    Will this clause be deleted from my lease following a change in legislation giving tenants the rights to keep pets?
    The reason for inclusion of this clause in a lease is obvious, disturbance to other occupants of the building e.g. barking etc etc.

  11. Why not just state in property to rent advert “property not suitable for pets”. Then potential applicants can’t say they didn’t know. Most flats/appartments aren’t suitable anyway due to insufficient direct access to outside space for cats & dogs to be let out and potential noise disturbance to neighbours so simple blanket ‘no pets’ policy from the outset and stick to it.

  12. Regardless of whether landlords give their permission to allow tenants to keep pets, the tenants will just carry on regardless. I have become an expert on fumigating properties and the life cycle of cat fleas. Trust me, your building/ maintenance team will not be happy working in a property at the height of the Summer, with their trousers tucked into their boots and long sleeved T-shirts to avoid bites.

  13. Lol, and of course any of You don’t have pets at home? Or Yours pets damaged full house, every week?
    If You charge extra £30-40, do you give me back after 2/3 years when house looks good?
    You all want easy money. Long term tenant, no phone calls, couple after 30 without kids, and high income.
    Maybe try speaking with people before rent, put in a few inspections date in contract, stop using lazy estate agents.
    I could writing 200 pages about landlords and agencies, and complained like You.

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