Pets in Rented Homes – A No-No or A Go-Go

A new bill has been launched in parliament to allow tenants to move into rented homes with their pets. The bill is due for a second reading in January 2021. If the new legislation is accepted, it will complicate not only tenancy contracts but also landlord insurance. On the other hand, if the new legislation does go live, it will make many tenants grateful and happy.

Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill intends to give tenants the right to live with their pets provided the tenants prove they are ‘responsible and caring’.

The government has already tried to tackle the issue earlier this year, but the effort has not been very successful.

Tenants

Research shows that nearly half of the population in the UK has a pet. The majority of pet owners are responsible and caring. However, some tenants with pets cause so much trouble to landlords that landlords decide against renting to pet owners.

Usually, when a responsible pet owner finds accommodation which allows pets, they will try hard to be a perfect tenant. They will pay their rent on time and they will look after the property as if it were their own.

Unfortunately, some tenants, although in minority, will not do the best job when it comes to caring for the property or their pet. This is the sort of tenant all landlords are dreading. Unfortunately, it is not a simple task to distinguish a good tenant form a bad one.

However, tenants who do find a rented home for themselves and their pets tend to stay longer.

Landlords

From the landlord’s point of view, it is better to avoid potential damages then to take a risk.  This is not because of ill-will. There are many landlords who have pets themselves. This is simply a business decision. Landlords do not want costly damages that could set them back hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds. They also prefer to avoid long deposit disputes. Additionally, some tenants will abandon a pet when moving out. This is another issue that a landlord may be faced with. Usually, when a landlord says ‘no’ to a pet, it is because they have had a bad experience themselves or have heard horror stories from other landlords.

Moreover, together with the tenant fees act the number of landlords accepting pets fell significantly. Since landlords are no longer able to take additional deposit for pets, they are no longer willing to take the risk.

Furthermore, many people in the UK suffer from asthma and are allergic to most common pets, like cats and dogs. For those tenants it is vital they find a home that has not been inhabited by any furry pets. It happens that allergy sufferers may be affected by animal residue lingering in rented properties long after a pet is gone.

It is also true that some properties are simply not suitable for pets. Some landlords won’t accept pets because of insurance. Additionally, some leasehold agreements do not allow pets and in those situations a landlord cannot rent to a tenant with a pet even if they wanted to.

 Exceptions

Assistance dogs, such as guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for deaf people, and dogs for disabled people, must be permitted by law in a property. The disability legislation prevents any landlord from discriminating against a disabled person.

You can read more about the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill here

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