So what is the deal on pets? The Renters Reform Bill is currently going through Parliament, and nothing is written in stone until it is passed into law. However if you believe in what you read in the media you will now be thinking, that once the Bill is passed, your tenant will be able to have a pet in the property regardless of what your lease says or the property type.
It is not that case and is very misleading, but it makes for great click bait and bad headlines.
The Renters Reform Bill does want to incentivise landlords to accept pets but it also has a number of caveats. The wording in the Bill is that landlords “do not unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet in their home, with the tenant able to challenge a decision “
Hence if the Bill is passed with its present wording, you will need to give a reason for not accepting a pet. As mentioned above this could be down to the head lease or for the fact that your property is not suitable for a pet.
I see the spirit of the Reform Bill is to make you consider a pet. Not that you must allow one.
What is not being talked about is the fact that the Bill is also making provision to amend the Tenant Fee Act 2019 to include pet insurance as a permissible charge. In doing so, landlords will be enabled to take this out on behalf of the tenant and charge back the cost. This will mean ultimately you will have more protection against any damage inflicted on their property.
As you know I am a firm believer that your residents should be able to have a pet if it is suitable for the property. In 18 years of running a business as an agent we have had a tiny handful of issues where we have had to deal with poor ownership of a pet. So, sorry if you disagree, but I can’t see the issue if the property is suitable for the pet in question. As 75% of applicants want a pet, why would you deny yourself so much of your potential market?
What checks and balances should be in place for pets?
So if pets are to be permitted and consent ‘not unreasonably withheld’, what criteria do we have in place to protect you against irresponsible pet owners?
We have a vetting process for the pet and owner, which includes proof of microchip number, vets practice, agreement on end of tenancy clean, agreement on the length of time the pets is left alone in the home…and not forgetting a cute picture of the pet which every responsible owner would have!
As mentioned, the Bill has to go through quite a long process before it becomes law. After each reading and debate things will be changed updated and, in some cases, just disappear. So, from a time scale most people believe this will not happen much before 18 months. However, since there is a general election looming we might find that some parts of the Bill are pushed through so the Government can say they have done something.
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