Dogs Trust, Battersea, and other major animal welfare charities have expressed their support for the newly announced Renters (Reform) Bill, which will provide new rights to responsible pet owners who rent their homes. The bill, introduced by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, aims to address the issue of landlords unreasonably withholding consent for tenants to have pets.
Under the proposed legislation, landlords will no longer be able to impose blanket bans on pets or unreasonably refuse tenants’ requests to have a pet in their home. In cases of unfair decisions, tenants will have the option to challenge them through a newly established Private Rented Sector Ombudsman.
Research conducted by Dogs Trust, Cats Protection, and Battersea indicates that a significant number of pet owners face difficulties finding suitable rental accommodation, with around one in ten people who contact these charities seeking to rehome their pets due to accommodation issues. The study further reveals that while 46% of landlords claim to allow pets, only 30% of tenants believe their tenancy agreements permit them to have a dog in the property.
The research also exposes that over a third of cases where cats or dogs were not allowed by private landlords, the decision was not based on individual tenants or pets but rather followed advice or utilized standard templates.
Allowing pets in rental properties benefits not only the tenants but also the landlords, as it can potentially increase the length of time tenants choose to rent a property. The study by Dogs Trust, Cats Protection, and Battersea found that 26% of tenants would stay longer in a pet-friendly property.
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, expressed enthusiasm for the new measures, highlighting that the Renters (Reform) Bill could be a gamechanger for responsible dog owners who rent. He emphasized that pet ownership should not be exclusive to homeowners and called for renters to be able to enjoy the benefits and companionship of pets, regardless of their housing type. Sharp stated that the new legislation would prevent the unnecessary separation of dogs from their owners due to restrictive pet policies and benefit both owners and the animal welfare sector.
To support the availability of pet-friendly properties, Dogs Trust has been providing guidance and resources through its Lets with Pets scheme for over a decade. For further information on becoming a pet-friendly landlord or finding pet-friendly accommodation, visit www.letswithpets.org.uk.