Law News

The government wants to make it easier for tenants to have pets

Em Morley - January 7, 2020

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that he is planning to overhaul the government’s model contract to make it easier for tenants to have pets.

In a surprise statement on Saturday morning, the head of The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said that more young people and families are renting than ever before, and due to restrictive contracts, are missing out on the opportunity to own pets. 

Jenrick said that the plan is “part of this new government’s mission to improve life for tenants, recognising that more are renting and for longer in life.” 

He said that currently less than one in ten rental properties are advertised as allowing pets.

Those with animals often struggle to find a place to live, whilst those already in rented property face the prospect of potentially never having their own pets. 

Jenrick said:

“Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owner’s through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property.

“So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract to encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners. And we will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both.”

The model tenancy contracts for renters are provided by the government to use as a basis for agreements between tenants and landlords. Jenrick says:

“[They] will now be revised to remove restrictions on well behaved pets – to ensure more landlords are catering for responsible pet owners wherever possible.

“The government is clear there should be a balance with responsible pet owners not being penalised and landlords being more flexible in their approach, and it is right that landlords’ properties should be protected from damage by badly behaved pets”

However, Jenrick adds that landlords will still be free to implement pet bans where there is good reason.

This contract overhaul forms part of the Government’s plan to improve life for tenants along with banning letting fees and capping deposits. The prospect of a Section 21 ban is still on the table also.