UK’s Renting Reform Bill Will Make It Easier for Tenants To Have Pets in Private Housing

Owner Petting Cat

Photo: sonjachnyj/123RF

Finding a place to rent can be hard. Finding a place to rent that allows pets, or doesn't charge exorbitant pet fees, can feel impossible. Luckily, the Renters' Reform Bill—currently being proposed in the UK—is set to make it easier for pet owners to secure housing.

In 2021, only 7% of landlords advertised their properties as pet-friendly, and almost one in five pet owners said they have considered giving up their pet in order to find somewhere to live. Not only does the current situation put pet owners in a painful spot, but it discourages would-be pet owners from adopting, and enjoying the companionship an animal friend can offer. MP Andrew Rosindell, sponsor of the bill, points out that most people see their pets as family members, and that being separated from their dog or cat feels like being separated from a brother or sister. “Sadly,” he says, “pet owners who move into rented accommodation face the reality that their family could be torn apart, because most landlords in Britain have unnecessary bans or restrictions on pets ownership.”

The legislature would not give tenants an unconditional right to keep a pet; rather, it is meant to ensure that landlords do not “unreasonably withhold consent” when a tenant requests to have a pet. It would also allow tenants to challenge a landlord's decision. The issue of pets is one that has long divided landlords and tenants, the main reason being that pets can be destructive, leading to higher maintenance costs for the property owners. With this in mind, the reform would also allow landlords to require pet insurance so that damage to their property is covered.  If a landlord decides they simply do not want their tenant to keep a pet, they will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written request from the tenant, and provide a good reason, such as a shared home situation where someone has allergies.

“We are a nation of animal lovers and over the last year more people than ever before have welcomed pets into their lives and homes,” says Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP, referring to the wave of pet adoptions resulting from pandemic lockdowns. “This [change] strikes the right balance between helping more people find a home that's right for them and their pet while ensuring landlords' properties are safeguarded against inappropriate or badly behaved pets.”

The Renters' Reform Bill in the UK would ensure that landlords do not “unreasonably consent” to tenants keeping a pet, and would allow tenants to challenge their landlords' decision.

Row of British Brick Houses

Photo: almac1961/123RF

The legislation aims to help more pet owners secure housing while still safeguarding landlords' properties from badly behaved pets.

Owner Holding Dog

Photo: halfpoint/123RF

h/t: [Bored Panda]

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