While the UK is considered to be a nation of pet lovers, currently only 7% of private landlords advertise pet friendly properties, meaning many people struggle to find suitable homes. In some cases, this has meant people have had to give up their pets all together.
However, responsible tenants with well-behaved pets will now be able to secure leases more easily through the new Model Tenancy Agreement.
Under the new agreement, announced by Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, landlords will no longer be able to issue blanket bans on pets.
Instead, consent for pets will be the default position, and landlords will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason.
The Model Tenancy Agreement is the government’s recommended contract for landlords. With figures showing that more than half of adults in the United Kingdom own a pet and many more welcoming pets into their lives during the pandemic, these changes mean more landlords will cater for responsible pet owners.
Under the new agreement, rejections should only be made where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. To ensure landlords are protected, tenants will continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property.
Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said, “We are a nation of animal lovers and over the last year more people than ever before have welcome pets into their lives and homes. But it can’t be right that only a tiny fraction of landlords advertise pet friendly properties and in some cases people have had to give up their beloved pets in order to find somewhere to live.”
“Through the changes to the tenancy agreement we are making today, we are bringing an end to the unfair blanket ban on pets introduced by some landlords,” Pincher said. “This strikes the right balance between helping more people find a home that’s right for them and their pet while ensuring landlords’ properties are safeguarded against inappropriate or badly behaved pets.”
A spokesperson for the National Residential Landlords Association, a UK-based landlord association, said, “We recognise the importance of pets in providing companionship especially to those living on their own. However, pets are not always suitable in certain properties such as large dogs in small flats without gardens. There is often more a risk of damage to a property where there is a pet.”
“We call on the government to enable the level at which deposits are set to be more flexible to reflect this greater risk,” the spokesperson said. “We are also calling for a tenant to either have pet insurance or to pay the landlord for it to be allowed as a requirement for a tenancy where relevant. At present payments such as this are banned under the Tenant Fees Act.”
The UK’s Covid-19 lockdowns have led to an increase in pet adoption across the nation.
For tips on how to find a pet friendly flat in the UK, click here.