Landlords urged to allow tenants to have pets after government bill

16 December 2020 | General

Allowing pets should be a natural part of providing a home for somebody, said property firm Apropos by DJ Alexander.

The firm responsed to a Private Member’s Bill in parliament by Romford MP, Andrew Rosindell, calling for tenants to be allowed to have pets and to restrict the right of landlords or their agents to include ‘no pets’ policies.

The bill is due to have its Second Reading on the 29th January.

David Alexander, the joint chief executive officer of apropos by DJ Alexander, said: “This is a time of year when many people consider buying a pet as a present but for the millions of people in the private rented sector (PRS) this is not an option.

“Many landlords oppose the idea of allowing tenants to have pets as they fear their property will be damaged, may develop an unpleasant odour, and will decline in value.”

“Clearly there can be issues with inappropriate pet owners, but most people are responsible and regard their rented property as their home.

“They would be unlikely to want to live in a home damaged or destroyed by a wayward pet but there are steps that can be taken to ensure this doesn’t happen and if it does, then the landlord is covered.”

The bill proposes that tenants be allowed to have pets if they can demonstrate that they are “responsible owners” with a checklist of conditions to verify this which include a vet’s confirmation of vaccinations, spaying or neutering, that the animal is free of parasites and has been properly trained.

If these conditions are met, and the property is suitable, then it would be assumed that the tenant could have a pet.

Alexander added: “The last year has shown that people now, more than ever, regard having a good home as the most important part of their life. They want to feel comfortable; they want to feel safe, and they want to surround themselves with the things that make them happiest.

“Often this means having a pet. The Kennel Club published a report which said that 40% of puppies bought this year were as a “covid companion” and two thirds of new dog owners said their pet was a lifeline during lockdown.

“If a landlord allows a tenant to have a pet then they are more likely to stay longer, they may well be willing to pay a premium, and this will foster better relations. Increasingly, landlords must realise that they are providing homes to people and the more amenable they are, the more comfortable they can make their property, the more likely they will get longer tenancies and stronger rental income.

“Landlords should be assured that this bill offers them protection for their properties whilst also giving tenants the chance to have companionship from a pet. With appropriate insurance the landlord can easily be covered for any damage caused by the pet.

“Buy to rent developers are increasingly developing pet-friendly properties as they see this as a major incentive for tenants who want to live a life as similar to that of a property owner as possible.

“The Andrew Rosindell Bill should not even be regarded as controversial as it is simply offering a basic human right to tenants that they should never have had restricted. This Bill, if introduced as legislation, is righting a wrong and should be welcomed by landlords everywhere.”

This post has originally been featured in Property Wire.