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No Pets: charities back call for reform of rental regulations

22 October 2020 | Renting

Several pet charities are supporting an attempt by an MP to reform lettings regulations to permit more pets in private rental accommodation.

Earlier this year the government said its model tenancy contracts would be revised to remove restrictions on pets, making it easier for renters to bring well-behaved animals into properties – however, agents and landlords are not obliged to use that model agreement. 

Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, has recently introduced the Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation and Protection Bill in the House of Commons, seeking dogs and other animals to be kept in rented accommodation so long as owners can demonstrate their care for them.

“What makes somewhere a home is something where special moments are created, living with a family, friends or companions” Rosindell has told MPs.

Now a number of animal welfare and animal rights charities have thrown their weight behind the campaign which would limit “no pets” clauses; if the legislation passes it will be dubbed “Jasmine’s Law” in memory of a dog known to the MP.

The animal charities’ support letters are carried on Rosindell’s website and include the RSPCA saying: “Responsible dog ownership can bring huge benefits to animal and owner alike and we encourage all landlords to consider how they can work with their tenants to be dog friendly. Dog ownership can enhance the owner’s mental and physical health and encourage exercise, plus dogs make great companions – all of which has only increased in importance over the past few difficult months. As many existing dog friendly landlords will testify, dog owners can be some of the best tenants.”

Peter Laurie, the deputy chief executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, comments: “One in five households in London now rent from social housing providers yet many animal lovers in these properties are deprived from owning a dog or cat, despite the key role animals play in helping to tackle loneliness and isolation.”

And the head of outreach projects at the Dogs Trust, Clare Kivlehan, adds: “For more than 10 years we’ve been working with landlords, letting agencies and the property industry through our Lets With Pets Scheme to provide guidance and advice. We welcome steps to address ‘no pet’ clauses that too often force owners to part with their beloved pet.”

At the start of 2020 the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick called on the lettings industry to make it easier for responsible owners to have animals in rented homes.

Jenrick said at the time: “Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owners through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. It’s a shame thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning. So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract.”

This post has originally been featured in Letting Agent Today.