With up to a quarter of UK residents owning a pet, this move means thousands of renters, and their pets, will be able to secure tenancies more easily. If landlords or letting agents are using a standard contract, it is no longer possible to insert a blanket ban on pets.
Under the new agreement, landlords will now have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant. They must also provide a good reason why it is not possible to keep a pet in their property, for example where it is a smaller property or impractical to keep a pet. This is the latest development in the Dogs and Domestic Animals Bill that was first introduced to Parliament on 14th October 2020, aimed at establishing rights to keep and make provision about the protection of the welfare of dogs and other animals in domestic accommodation.
The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) previously responded to the proposed changes: “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 NRLA have also called for tenants to either present pet insurance or pay the landlord for pets to be allowed, but this is currently prohibited under the Tenant Fees Act.
The responsibility remains with the tenant to cover any cost of cleaning or repairs as a result of keeping pets in their rented properties, but many landlords feel that even the best-behaved pets can impact detrimentally on their properties, and highlight the complexity of the issue when combined with deposit caps.
For letting agents, this is another key legislative change to keep on top of. According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government only 7% of rental properties are advertised as ‘pet-friendly’, so there is clearly more demand than supply. In a challenging rental market this can open opportunities for new tenants to come into the rental space and for landlords to meet their demand, pets included. In addition, many landlords will look for the security of a professional and clear approach towards tenants with pets and could turn to a fully managed proposition via their letting agent, to achieve this. Now is the time for you to consider the benefits of encouraging landlords to consider allowing pets in their property and increasing their market appeal, plus the options for insurance and increased financial cover that you could adopt to support landlords to cover the additional risk of pets.
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