Renting with Pets – new Government Announcement.
It has long been known that pets bring many benefits to people. Dogs, in particular, provide a source of support that many would argue is comparable to that gained from human relationships. Many dogs are regarded as family members and people can become very distressed when they have to part with a much loved family pet.
However, those living in private and social rented accommodation are often not allowed to keep pets. According to Dogs Trust, one of the main reasons for people giving up their animals is due to a change in circumstances and this is frequently associated with being unable to take their pets to rented accommodation.
However, on the 4th January this year, the housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP called on landlords to be more lenient when it comes to allowing pets in their properties. To this end, he has announced an overhaul of tenancy agreements which will be mutually beneficial to all parties.
The Dogs Trust have been working with landlords, letting agencies and the property industry as a whole, for over a decade with the aim of making pet ownership more accessible to tenants.
The proposed new changes come at a time when more people than ever are renting their homes and who the Dogs Trust believe, should not be excluded from owning a pet. While presently, only 7% of landlords accept pets the majority put an automatic blanket ban on having dogs or cats in their properties. This means that many existing pet owners struggle to find suitable accommodation and many others find they have to give up their dog or cat altogether.
The new government proposals set out to make adjustments to tenancy contracts which remove restrictions on pets. The aim is to encourage more landlords to be more flexible with responsible pet owning tenants and where a total ban is implemented, this should be for a good reason – such as in apartment complexes or other properties where having a pet would be impractical.
However, the Dogs Trust state it is crucial that any changes made to the model tenancy contract are supported with guidance on how landlords can put these changes into practice so that it is fair and beneficial for both tenant and landlord.
Holidays4Dogs welcomes these changes since, like many, we believe people living in rented accommodation should not be discriminated against when it comes to pet owning. However, there is a concern that some landlords will charge a higher rent for pet owners. According to Landlord Law Services, while landlords cannot charge a high deposit, (due to the Tenant Fees Bill), they can charge a higher rent for tenants with pets.
There are also fees involved, (up to fifty pounds) for requests to amend the tenancy agreement. It is also highly likely that there will be clauses for vaccination (many people choose not to annually vaccinate or use homeopathy) and for regular flea and tick treatment (again, some people prefer not to use these products on their animals for health reasons). In addition, tenants with pets may have to agree for more property inspections annually than those without pets – Landlord Law Services recommends quarterly inspections which many tenants may consider to be intrusive.
Overall, the proposed changes are certainly a step in the right direction and will hopefully mean that fewer pets have to be re-homed as a result of not being allowed in rented property. Landlords may find that they are able to let their properties more easily, bearing in mind that 40% of UK households own a pet.
A revised model tenancy agreement will be published by the Government later this year and Holidays4Dogs will update readers when more information becomes available.