\\\ Renting Property With Pets
\\\ 2 December 2021
Pet-Friendly Properties To Rent
The recent pandemic woke up many of the UK working public to the benefits of pet ownership whilst they worked from home during lockdowns, and now, post lockdowns have revised working contracts, spending more time at home and less in workplaces, providing the perfect opportunity to buy and have time to care for a much-loved pet.
Up until now owning a pet has been fraught, finding suitable accommodation for you, your family, and your pet with many people at short notice moving and having to give away their pets because of the shortage of tenancies, excarburated by the lockdowns where landlords were cashing in due to the surge in demand at coastal and natural beauty areas, changing their tenancy lets to holiday lets only, locking out not only pet-owning tenants but also ordinary local residents. This is particularly true in the hotspots such as Devon and Cornwall where residents are unable to find accommodation having lived their all their lives, whether they have a pet or not.
Perhaps, this huge rise in Air BNB and holiday let rentals during the pandemic that allowed pets with their owners to enjoy time together around the UK, sparked the need to examine why more landlords are failing to offer the public better tenancy conditions, including allowing pets. Sykes Holiday Cottages, for example, have more than 9,360 cottages ready for letting to pet-friendly lets 2022.
Landlords cite problems with renting when tenants own pets. Just because landlords may have had one bad experience renting to a pet ‘family’ doesn’t mean that all tenants with pets are the same and with just 7% of the rentals advertised being suitable for pets, according to YOUGOV, (2021), provides little choice for the renter and pet, the market size being an enormous estimated 86 million pounds, 2020, according to Statista.
UK Pet Ownership Size
As many as 3 million new dogs and 3 million new cats are estimated to have been bought during the lockdown period, with ownership reaching at least 12 million dogs and 12 million cats. Don’t forget the UK pet rabbit population is now estimated to be more than a million with a rising trend of housing them in our homes, as reported by the PMFA, The Pet Foods Manufacturer, representing the many businesses manufacturing pet foods, feeding millions of pets every day where more than 59% of UK households are estimated to own pets.
Lockdown saw many households moving to the countryside, selling up city dwellings, however, some pet owners were caught up in a trap when thinking they could easily find rental properties whilst they were in between house selling and moves, only to find the dire and true state of affairs for the millions of everyday renters denied the opportunity by their landlords to offer a tenancy with their pets.
Is the New Act Good News For Renters?
The Proposed Pet Protection Bill
The Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill; A Bill to establish rights to keep dogs and other animals in domestic accommodation; to make provision about the protection of the welfare of dogs and other domestic animals; and for connected purposes.New standard tenancy agreement to help renters with well behaved pets
Responsible tenants in England with well-behaved pets will be able to secure leases more easily through a new standard tenancy agreement. Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government and The Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP Press Release 28 January 2021.
In other words, a new standard tenancy agreement to help renters with well-behaved pets, which introduces another piece of paperwork obtainable from a veterinarian where the owner of the pet has conformed to government Laws and Rules such as microchipping and routine treatments, keeping their pet healthy with required vaccinations, and can show they manage their pet with basic commands, so they can obtain a Certificate of ‘worthiness’ to be able to provide their landlord with reassurance about their pet keeping skills.
Exemptions of the Bill
If the proposed bill goes ahead, tenants will not have unconditional rights to keep a pet. Tenants will need to have obtained their certificate.
This still doesn’t mean that other obstacles remain, for example, neighbour complaints or dangers to the pet living in inappropriate accommodation where the landlord can still refuse. The landlord may obtain a Certificate of exemption for example, where allergic reactions may have been caused part way through the tenancy to others living close by.
Changes to the Standard Tenancy Agreement
The Ministry of Housing updated their standard tenancy agreement at this time ensuring there is no longer a ‘blanket ban’ on pets joining tenants. Allowing pets is now the preferred position by the government model tenancy agreement.
It’s estimated that 13 million people live in rented UK accommodation, with most private renters in England being on “assured shorthold” tenancies, which can be ended by the landlord without needing a reason and with only two months’ notice. It provides so little time for the tenant to find suitable accommodation, let alone the chances of moving to another suitable pet-friendly property when there is less accommodation advertised, such as the December / January, Christmas period.
Tenants are liable for their pet’s behaviour, and that includes damage as landlords still have the right to charge where this has been evident.
The Bill doesn’t only cover new tenancy lets but existing tenants have the right to request to keep a pet. The landlord does have the right to refuse but must object within 28 days of the tenant’s written request.
2020-2021 have seen a number of welcoming pet and animal-related new Bills, amendments, and Rules. This Bill is currently moving swiftly through Parliament and this page will be further updated.
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