Landlords should no longer stop tenants from keeping pets – here’s why
To date, only seven per cent of landlords advertise their properties as ‘pet -friendly’ with many others enforcing a blanket ban on all pets, regardless of their species, size or nature. Yet, this is set to change in 2020 due to a new government diktat which means that the Government’s model tenancy contract will be rewritten to remove all restrictions on well-behaved pets.
This agreement acts as the recommended contract between landlords and their tenants. This diktat was ordered by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick in a series of moves intended to make contracts fairer to tenants.
Is it legally binding?
While this action won’t be legally binding, if landlords decide not to adhere to this diktat, it may be made a legal requirement in the future.
Why is it necessary?
At present, it can be extremely difficult for renters to find suitable accommodation which accepts pets. Regardless of their best efforts or the nature of their pets, many feel that they are being unfairly dismissed without due consideration. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick believes that more families who live in rented accommodation should experience the joy that comes with having a pet, cited to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of their owners. At present, many owners feel pressured to give up their pets due to struggling to find a rental property which will accommodate them.
What can you do to protect your property?
Not only will accepting pets into your properties open up a wider spectrum of tenant options to you, but it can also make for better tenant-landlord relationships. Here are some steps you can consider to give you peace of mind when renting to pet owners:
- Arrange a visit to their current accommodation to meet them and their pet. Failing this, send them a short questionnaire about their pet, including their daily routine and history
- Ask for a pet-specific reference from their previous landlord
- Ask for up-to-date vet records
- Conduct regular visits
- Consider offering unfurnished accommodation
- Mutually agree terms of the agreement with your tenant regarding their pet
What if they’re not suitable?
Not every home is suited to every pet. This diktat has come into place to encourage landlords to consider pets on an individual basis, rather than imposing a flat-out ban due to one bad experience. If you let out a one-bedroom flat in the city centre, it’s clear that this will be unsuitable for most dogs and you still have the right to turn down dog owners due to this sensible reasoning.
If you’re a residential landlord and are worried about how this change could affect your current landlord insurance, get in touch with Watkin Davies on 02920 626 226.