New Model Tenancy Agreement to ‘help renters with well-behaved pets’

The UK Government has announced changes to the Model Tenancy Agreement to enable tenants with ‘well-behaved pets’ to secure a tenancy more easily. Propertymark urges the UK Government to recognise the impact of their decision to cap deposits and the knock-on costs that landlords face.

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Under the new Model Tenancy Agreement, landlords will now have to seek consent for pets as the default position, and will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason.

The key change only allows the banning of pets where there is a good reason (such as large pets in smaller properties or flats, or other properties where having a pet could be impractical). The revision encourages landlords to be more open to pet-owning tenants but will not be made to accept a pet if they do not want to, therefore giving landlords the final say. Tenants will also continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property.

We are a nation of animal lovers and over the last year more people than ever before have welcome pets into their lives and homes.

But it can’t be right that only a tiny fraction of landlords advertise pet-friendly properties and in some cases people have had to give up their beloved pets in order to find somewhere to live.

Through the changes to the tenancy agreement we are making today, we are bringing an end to the unfair blanket ban on pets introduced by some landlords. This 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.

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Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP Housing Minister
Whilst we acknowledge that allowing pets can make a property more desirable and encourage tenants to rent for longer, even the best-behaved pets will have an impact on a property. The UK Government must recognise the impact of their decision to cap deposits and the knock-on costs that landlords face. This is a complex issue that is determined on a case-by-case basis highlighting the need for landlords to get advice from a professional letting agent.
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Mark Hayward Chief Policy Advisor | Propertymark

Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill

On the wider issue of pets in rented accommodation, last year Andrew Rosindell MP introduced a Ten-Minute Rule Bill (Private Members’ Bill) entitled the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill.

The Bill proposes that pet owners pass a test of responsible ownership by obtaining a certificate from a vet before moving in, confirming that they have a healthy, well-behaved animal and are considered to be a responsible owner. For instance, for a dog, a responsible ownership checklist would include being vaccinated and microchipped and being responsive to basic training commands, with appropriate rules applying to other animals.

Furthermore, microchipping is a key element of the Bill, which will stipulate that all cats and dogs kept in rented accommodation must be microchipped. Part of the approval process for a pet to be moved into accommodation would be to have their microchip scanned by a vet to ensure that they were registered on a national database.

Propermark has met with Andrew Rosindell’s office to outline member’s concerns, the unintended consequences of the Bill and highlight the practical implications of the proposals. These include:

  • Will the Bill provide a definition of a domestic animal?
  • Have any surveys or research been done to show that tenants are actually prepared to pay for the additional costs and administration?
  • How will the Bill interact with property leases as many have restrictions on keeping pets?
  • Who will manage the national database?
  • Impact on rents - under the Tenant Fees Act, landlords and letting agents are no longer able to take a higher security deposit for tenants with pets but instead, can set the rent of the tenancy at a level for the wear and tear that the pet may cause.

Propertymark is continuing to monitor the situation and engage with decision-makers on the matter. No date has been set for the Bill’s Second Reading in the House of Commons.