Landlords to fully consider pet requests

Following the release of the ‘A Fairer Private Rented Sector’ White Paper in June 2022, the Renters (Reform) Bill, published on 17 May 2023, has adopted the UK Government's commitment to the right for tenants to request permission to keep a pet, and amending the Tenant Fees Act 2019 to permit pet insurance.

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Under the new tenancy system, it will be an implied term of every assured tenancy that a tenant will be able to keep a pet in the property if they ask for consent in writing and receive the landlord’s consent. Landlords will be required to fully consider all requests on a case-by-case basis.

A landlord must give or refuse consent in writing on or before the 42nd day after the date of the request, although there are some exceptions detailed in the Bill. Guidance on what will be considered a reasonable refusal for a pet request will be provided by the UK Government closer to the Bill’s enactment date. If the tenant believes the request has been unreasonably refused, they will be able to raise it to the Private Rented Sector Ombudsman which is to be set up as part of the Bill or through the courts.

Pet insurance

Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, a landlord cannot require a tenant to enter into a contract with a third party to provide a service or insurance related to the property. However, the Renters (Reform) Bill now provides an exception for pet insurance, in the same way, some tenants are still required to organise and pay for utility bills. Under the reforms, agents and landlords who consent to the tenant keeping a pet must inform the tenant in writing that either:

  • The tenant maintains insurance to cover the risk of pet damage to a reasonable level.
  • The tenant must pay the landlord’s reasonable costs of maintaining insurance that covers the risk of pet damage.

Propertymark has long-supported methods to make it easier for landlords and tenants to discuss solutions so that tenants to keep pets in their property, without the landlord incurring unreasonable costs.

The UK Government has produced information on how the Renters (Reform) Bill supports responsible pet owners in the private rented sector.

We will continue to raise the impact of the removal of fixed term tenancies and seek to find a solution with policy makers.

Furthermore, whilst amendments to the Tenant Fees Act to allow for insurance when tenants rent with pets is welcome, we’ll be making the case that it’s not simply about consent but suitability of the type of property and pets.

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Timothy Douglas Head of Policy and Campaigns | Propertymark


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