Just 7% of private landlords currently advertise pet-friendly properties. This makes it much harder for tenants to find the right home and in some cases has even meant people having to give up their pets to put a roof over their head. But this is all about to change. MPs have voted for a new standard tenancy agreement that means tenants with pets in England should be able to find properties to rent more easily.
Under the new Model Tenancy Agreement, announced by Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP, landlords will no longer be able to issue blanket bans on pets. Instead, consent for pets will be the default position.
The Model Tenancy Agreement will now be the government’s recommended contract for landlords. With figures showing that more than half of adults in the United Kingdom own a pet and with pet ownership booming during the pandemic, the changes mean more landlords will need to cater for responsible pet owners.
Under the new agreement, rejections should only be made where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. Landlords will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant.
Pets are family and we are pleased to see MPs supporting that view too. But of course, we understand landlords’ reservations. Irresponsible pet owners can allow their cats and dogs (and other less common pets!) to cause a huge amount of costly damage to fixtures and fittings – and pet hair and stains can spoil carpets at break-neck speed. So, we are glad to see the minister make quite clear that under the new rules, tenants will continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any harm caused to rented property.
What will be more difficult for landlords to determine is what constitutes the “well-behaved” pets that Christopher Pincher referenced in his announcement. What is the definition and how can landlords tell how well-behaved or otherwise their tenants’ pets may be? One person’s untrained dog could just appear cheeky and fun-loving to someone else. We are famously a nation of pet lovers but if the neighbours start complaining about pet noise, mess or trespass, landlords may have a whole different set of problems to deal with.
If you feel that your property would benefit from a more professional managing agent, get in touch with us today to discuss your property.