Thousands of tenants have taken on pets for company during the pandemic without consent from their landlord or agent. And whereas previously this decision could have got them in to serious trouble – or even evicted; The Ministry of Housing has now announced changes to the Model Tenancy Agreement to enable tenants with ‘well-behaved pets’ to secure a tenancy more easily.  Here’s everything you need to know about the new rules…

What Were the Previous Rules for Tenants with Pets?

With only 7% of private landlords in 2020 advertising pet friendly properties; for over 90% of landlords, a blanket ban on pets of any kind was included in their contract. The act of getting a pet under these conditions was therefore deemed as reasonable grounds for eviction.

Not only did this mean that it was a struggle for pet loving tenants to find suitable homes (due to limited options); it also meant that in many cases, tenants or families having to give up their pet/s.

 

What Are the New Rules for Tenants with Pets?

The Dogs and Domestic Animals Bill was brought forward by Tory MP Andrew Rosindell on January 28th, specifying that tenants should be allowed well behaved pets. This all comes under the new standard tenancy agreement template, which although currently voluntary, is now the new recommended government guidance.

Under the new Model Tenancy Agreement, consent for pets will be the default position – and landlords will have to object to a pet request in writing within a 28 day period, providing a valid reason (eg space too small).

This revision is a move towards encouraging landlords to be more open to accepting pets in their property. But ultimately, as things stand now, landlords are still not legally required to accept a pet and still have the final say.

 

What Do The New Rules Mean For Tenants with Pets?

Although the new guidelines don’t currently give tenants an unconditional right to keep pets in their rental properties, they do give pet lovers a much greater chance of finding somewhere to live, with evictions a lot less likely. Under the suggested Model Tenancy Agreement, tenants will still have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property and will have to demonstrate responsible pet ownership, including:

  • Proof of vaccinations
  • Microchipping the pet
  • De-worming and de-fleaing
  • Ensuring the pet responds to basic commands

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP on The New Rules For Tenants With Pets:

 “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. 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.”

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