The government has rebuffed last week’s efforts by campaigners, MPs, Lords and private rental sector organisations to help more landlords accept tenants who wish to live with their pets.
In a written House of Commons reply by junior housing minister Eddie Hughes (main picture) made in response to campaigning MP Andrew Rosindell, the government said the current deposit law set out within the Tenant Fees Act was sufficient to enable landlords to charge tenants an additional deposit.
Rosindell (pictured, left) asked: “What assessment his department has made of the potential merits of adding pet deposits to the list of permitted payments in the Tenant Fees Act 2019 for pet ownership in rented accommodation?”.
Hughes replied that: “The five week cap should be considered the maximum, rather than the default amount charged. This approach should therefore accommodate private renters who wish to keep pets, without the need for a separate pet deposit.”
The minister’s answer, which also said the government had no plans at this time to amend the Tenant Fees Act, would suggest Ministers are unaware that the vast majority of letting agents and landlords now charge the full five-week rental deposit as standard.
This means, in order to comply with Hughes’ suggestion, landlords would have to charge a lower overall deposit, something many are reluctant to do as it become more and more difficult to recoup rent arrears through the courts.
Jen Berezai (pictured) who has been helping coordinate attempts to move the government’s position on deposits, tells LandlordZONE: “The five week cap is near enough equal to a month’s rent, and should a tenant leave a property without notice or in arrears, only covers a landlord for that initial void, with nothing left over for any potential damage by humans or pets.
“Tenants WANT a negotiating tool, they WANT to be able to pay a deposit or insurance premium in order to keep their pets. The system is broken and the government MUST take heed and seriously consider the proposals set out in the Heads for Tails! report.”