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Graham Awards


Tenancy agreements to be overhauled to end pet bans

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick is to overhaul the model tenancy contract to make it easier for tenants to have pets.

A surprise statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government this morning - Saturday - says more young people and families than ever before are renting and should be able to enjoy the happiness that a pet can bring to their lives. 

The ministry claims that currently only around seven per cent of rental properties are advertised as suitable for pets, meaning many people struggle to find a home suitable for themselves and their animals. 


“But the government’s model tenancy contracts for renters, which can be used as the basis of lease agreements made with tenants, will now be revised to remove restrictions on well behaved pets - to ensure more landlords are catering for responsible pet owners wherever possible” says the statement.

“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” it continues.

But it says total bans on renters with pets should only be implemented where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. 

Housing Secretary Jenrick adds: “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.

“This is part of this new government’s mission to improve life for tenants, recognising that more are renting and for longer in life. We’ve already taken action, banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits, saving tenants across England at least £240 million a year, and I will continue to take more steps to secure a better deal for renters up and down the country.”

  • Simon Shinerock

    Will the change include a test to determine whether or not a pet is well behaved?

    Paul Smithson

    So 2 month after the tenancy and the new tenant complains of fleas who you going to charge Mr Minister ?

    These muppets sorry Ministry of Housing and Shelter are simply out of touch but you'll reap what you sow.


    No it wont, the same as you cant tell what a renter will be like once they have moved in, same as a renter I dont to know if my landlord is well behaved after ive moved in, I have a dog and she is cleaner than me, what landlords need to remember its their house but its my home & im paying for it so expect to be able to treat it as my home.............

  • James B

    Pathetic ... constantly trying to appease rentflakes
    This will do nothing I don’t know one landlord who will use this template tenancy or any will take this on board

  • jeremy clarke

    Why are they still trying to get votes from those unlikely to vote for them, they have a majority and 5 years to sort out the important things rather than following this suicidal path?
    No mention here of head leases that don't allow pets, no mention of allergy risks for future tenants, no mention of anti social behaviour from barking dogs, no mention of the prospect of a higher deposit to offset risk, no mention of compulsory pet insurance, no mention of compulsory flea treatment at the end of tenancy so who have they consulted this time?

    S l
    • S l
    • 05 January 2020 20:20 PM

    ah ha, dont forget the Minister already decided that we landlord cannot charge for cleaning cost at the end of tenancy and this includes the mess made by pets, anti social behaviour? again landlord's liability and remember last year where landlord get sued if tenant is anti social as we are suppose to keep them in check!!! Decrease of deposit even when got pets, that was in last year article too, mmmmm not getting very far, are we? Mr Minister


    Lease holds should not be able to ban pets either, thats a dictatorship, I prefer dogs to humans any day of the week, my dog doesnt have fleas, after a renter has left you should deep clean in any case & realy that many people are allergic to dogs, personally im allergic to many humans & many landlords

  • icon

    I wouldn't have pets in my property. Alot off people cant even look after them self. Never mind having a pet..the law shouldnt be asking us to do that.end off day who gona clean the mess.if this every come in force..I'll be the first to sell my house.i can see a lot off landlords doing that aswel. It's really ridiculous. It's our house.we should have a say..am really getting fed up.with laws at moment it's so hard for landlords

    S l
    • S l
    • 05 January 2020 20:22 PM

    They are trying really hard to get us landlord to go into the welfare system. Might as well increase the burden on the welfare state since they are so adamant and persistent with this onslaught on the PRS

    PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    A lot of Tenants Can't look after THEMSELVES, let alone a pet !


    @ Possessionfriend etc
    I once went to value a property with a colleague from sales because the owner occupiers were moving and could not decide whether to sell or let the property.
    There was one rather tired spaniel lying in the lounge, As we walked across the floor to the kitchen we could see the fleas jumping,
    When we left my colleague was brushing the fles off her stockings. I was lucky since, being male, I wore trousers.
    I felt sorry for the dog. I have six dogs and numerous cats and ALL are flear treated on a regular basis.

  • icon

    I am actually beginning to wonder who these rented properties belong to? The landlord or the government?
    It’s a hard enough job ensuring we are selecting well behaved tenants, never mind pets.
    Presumably this will start to apply to all hotels and BnB’s too then.
    Housing prevention officers!!


    They belong to the landlord but they are the home of the renter maybe you should remember that


    Seeking well behaved tennants, who do you think you are, and yes hotels & air b&b should also take pets, I dont like humans or landlords but love dogs

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    • 04 January 2020 09:19 AM

    I don't accept pets...........but would have no problems with a budgie or parrot etc.
    Reptiles no problem with.
    Principally it is cats and dogs that I am against.
    Then again it depends.
    A small dog perhaps not a problem providing house trained.
    But even that is an issue now that additional deposits can't be taken...........officially anyway!


    Paul, Have you ever had a budgie? They fly around and poop anywhere, plus can tear v=curtains to shreds with they beaks and claws.

    As for a small dog v large dog, I have both small and large. The ones that make most noise are the small ones because they react to the small dachsund next door in an owner occupied flat that is left alone for long periods of the day.

    Bring an animal lover I do try, where the property is suitable, to persuade the landlord to advertise as pets negotiable. I insist that all cats are neutered and that the dogs attend the viewings. So far the dogs that attend the viewings are better behaved than the children.

    Jenrick really needs to to his homework though. Currently a NO PETS clause is regarded as unreasonable unless the words, WITHOUT the landlords consent (which will not be unreasonably witheld) are included. To me that says that only in certain circumstances can a landlord refuse a pet and those to anyone with commonsense, that excludes Goverbment Ministers immediately, would include landlords with allergies, head lease restraints and suitability of the property.

    A separate pet deposit would be a good idea, but until then an extra £25+ pcm would be a start.

  • icon

    Rather than talk about pet bans, the Government should consider the potential impact on a property from pets, and more particularly those who do damage, and lets face it, most of our beloved animals will chew, scratch, be sick or pee on the carpet at some point! It is more about having an appropriate deposit or mechanism to cover the landlords property in such circumstances. The Government might like to consider allowing a ring fenced 'pet deposit' as a separate entity to the normal tenant deposit? It would only take a few clicks on the tenancy deposit schemes to register and administer.. Fair and equitable, and I'm sure both landlords and pet owning tenants would run with this

    • 04 January 2020 09:39 AM

    A far too intelligent response from you regarding the pet deposit issue.
    Being sensible isn't something we can ever expect from the Govt.
    But your suggestion makes eminent sense which is why no Govt will ever adopt it.
    Remember Govt doesn't want to assist LL at all.
    It wants to put them out of business!

    S l
    • S l
    • 05 January 2020 20:25 PM

    except they had previously already decided that no extra deposit are allow because of having pets

    S l
    • S l
    • 05 January 2020 20:27 PM

    Hi Paul
    Not only the govt are against landlords, the councils are openly discriminating against landlord eg refusing funding to citizen advice bureau in Banes and Bristol to help landlord. Only funding given to help tenant.


    My dog does now chew or dammage, she has had the odd pee, I have my own rugs and under them is a pond linner, I also have a commercial cleaner, your assumption that all dog owners are dirty is simply wrong, ive seen humans trash places far worse than a dog & neither do I want to pay extra for having my dog


    My flat didn't even come with a carpet, just a bare concrete floor full of cracks with bits of broken glass and nails sticking out of it. Everything is broken- the windows fall out of the holes in the brickwork made for the frames, my guttering is falling apart, the fence was smashed in, the punch holes in the wall, the radiators leak, the electric heater in the living room isn't even wired to anything, the kitchen units are over 20 year old, the window panes are also coming out of my front door which has chunks missing from it from being battered down by police, the yard was full of old motorcycles and washing machines when I moved in and to top it all off the letting agent told me in writing that I was renting an entire house with a garden before signing the agreement (I am disabled and physically couldn't travel to the viewing with a carer at the time, but we did a video viewing instead. On arrival I realised I'd been let HALF the property and HALF the garden, and the camera was deliberately only popped out of the window for half a second to hide the trash left out there. I only rented the property because I was promised that I could keep pets and I made it very clear I had every intention of getting a service dog from Dogs for Autism and/or fostering, pet sitting etc. I risked being made street homeless for previously turning down a property that didn't allow pets. Now they're telling me I can't even keep a small animal like a rat or a ferret indoors in my property that is not connected to my upstairs neighbour with a separate front door in any way shape or form because I'm not renting the whole house/there are 'communal areas' (which I was lied to about)! I've spent all of lockdown completely isolated on my own as I'm estranged from my entire family, have no friends for over 200 miles, I am physically impaired and have major depression/social anxiety so don't really leave the house. The plan was for the pet to incentivise me to do more things and take them on walks. My neighbour is almost never in the garden, they wanted to get chickens/ducks as a shared pet with me from the off so they have no issue whatsoever with me having pets, the garden is attached to MY flat which has to be walked around to access the gate and I'm the one who has invested thousands of pounds and hundreds of hours of my time to make the place hospitable and respectable looking. I have 16 years' experience in animal husbandry in a professional setting, not some idiot who hasn't a clue what they're doing. I'm the first tenant in 20 years who hasn't been a drug dealer or convicted sex offender, they've never managed to retain a tenant in this property before me because they always end up going to prison- you'd think they'd WANT to keep the only sensible, clean person around here for miles.

  • icon

    I agree Paul, but the Government should appreciate that as a landlord I will no longer accept pets because of 'their' deposit situation, and as a letting agent I can tell them that the majority of my clients sadly feel much the same.. I really wonder sometimes if the Government understand at all... But lets maintain OUR professionalism and lets continue to tell them, if they're looking that is, and lets continue to give them sensible workable suggestions.. you never know, something might trickle in.. ;-)

    • 04 January 2020 10:14 AM

    From my own perspective I naturally adopt a very parochial perspective.
    From your daily professional perspective you must be faced with many distressed tenant clients when you have to advise that your LL clients DON'T want tenants with pets.........especially the furry ones.
    As an alternative are there insurance policies that a tenant can produce for a LL to assuage any concerns over damage etc?.
    I would accept a pet insurance policy from a tenant but of course I would not be able to require it as it would be banned under the TFA.
    But I presume it would be acceptable for a LL to state that no tenants with pets would be considered unless the tenant had a pet insurance policy in place to cover damages etc.
    So not a requirement just if there isn't one in place then tenant not considered.
    But then I suppose LL are running scared of the TFA and therefore DON'T wish to risk fines and find it easier to just say NO.
    Cant really blame the LL can we!?

    S l
    • S l
    • 05 January 2020 20:30 PM

    Hi Paul, even if the tenant can show you they have a pet insurance to start with, there is nothing to stop them from cancelling it once they moved into the property and there is no way you will be able to find out and by the end of the tenancy, without a pet insurance to cover damages, its on us to absorb the costs.

  • icon

    The simple answer is to allow the landlord to take a larger deposit if the tenant wants to have a pet. It is then the tenant's choice whether they want to pay or not.

  • icon

    Here we go!!!! Is this where not a month in I regret voting for this lot.

    • 04 January 2020 10:34 AM

    You would be regretting things a lot more if the other lot had got in.
    I was ready to auction all mine if Labour had got in!!
    Look at it this way at least you should have 5 years to get out of AST lettings before the very very ugly Labour head rears up again!!

  • icon

    I don't think an insurance would work for a number of reasons. Supposing the tenant cancels or stops paying the premium before the end of the tenancy? It cannot be mandated. Supposing the insurance decide that the tenant is negligent and won't pay out. Supposing the insurance company take several months to make a decision? Can you rely upon a third party to solve this issue? I think it has to be a direct relationship between the landlord and tenant. Either the tenant pays a higher monthly rent to cover pet issues, which is happening i believe but hardly fair, or the LL is saying no pets.. A specific pet deposit would work much better..

    • 04 January 2020 10:44 AM

    Yep I know the insurance thing is fraught with issues.
    What about the various pet charities being authorised pet deposit takers working perhaps in conjunction with the normal deposit takers.
    Tenants deposit monies with the charity which benefit from the interest gross..I think the pet charities should lobby Govt to allow something like this.
    Pets are known to assist the dysfunctional and as such should surely be facilitated.
    Clearly the policy wonks didn't consider pets when drawing up the new deposit regulations.
    A major oversight I would say.

    S l
    • S l
    • 05 January 2020 20:32 PM

    Can you charge a higher rent if tenant got pets if you already advertise a rental price.

  • icon

    In addition to the excellent points already made, the Government is once more blind to the whole HMO market. You cannot allow pets in HMOs for obvious reasons - others may have allergies or phobias, it may deter future tenants for taking a room, thus limiting whom you can accept as tenants and so on.
    The Government is being equally blind to the particular issue of anti-social behaviour in HMOs in its outrageously stupid plan to scrap s21. This is going to lead to tens if not hundreds of thousands of landlords shutting up shop, a contraction in the PRS and massive levels of homelessness.
    Everything this Government does is based on what it perceives plays to the tenant vote; landlords' interests count for nothing. But they will soon count when this country gets to see what a real housing crisis is - with the safety net of the PRS gone for those with the least means in society and the dispossessed turning up on the councils' steps with nowhere to go.

    • 04 January 2020 11:09 AM

    Excellent analysis of the situation particularly as regards HMO style accommodation.
    But what I can see occurring is overcrowding happening.
    Two or three generations living together.
    I've seen the tv history programmes about housing in the 50 and 60's where you had town houses with a family per floor!!
    Ended up becoming slums.
    But of course it was hidden as these tenants weren't on the streets.
    I believe Govt is missing a trick with lodgers.
    Govt should allow ALL lodger income to be tax free to encourage homeowners to let their spare rooms of which there are apparently millions.
    These vacant spare rooms are a wasting asset to the nation
    Announcing completely tax free lodger income would I believe galvanise homeowners into letting their spare rooms.
    Those who tend to have the majority of spare rooms tend to be of the older generation.
    As such many of them are asset rich and cash poor.
    Having tax free lodger income would be a boost in income for the many probable pensioners rattling around in these large houses with empty rooms.
    I'm sure many who are currently extremely reluctant to take in strangers into their homes would be incentivised by the lure of tax free income!
    After all how many lodger LL actually declare any lodger rent in excess of the current £7500 Room for Rent Allowance!?
    I never have and never will.
    Mind you I have never received more than the RFRA amount but if I did no way would anyone know least of all HMRC
    So I don't know why Govt just accepts that the RFRA is routinely evaded and abolish it with ALL lodger income tax free.
    It would even be worthwhile homeowners expanding their resi properties.
    A loft extension with en-suite could be paid by a lodger income in about 4 years.
    Plus by encouraging this sort of letting the existing housing stock is far better used and of course all that building work would generate lots or economic activity!
    Got to be good for everyone.
    Mortgage lenders would love it with homeowners investing in their properties increasing the value of the properties.


    what rubbish of course you can take dogs in an hmo, not that they should exist in any case, many humans are far more scary im sure in an HMO than my collie

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    I don't suppose it matters much to a lot of tenants. Animals are cleaner than they are. OOps, not PC!

    The way a property is built is important. Flats with wooden floors will be a disaster for fleas and et al. as they spread from floor to floor through the under floor spaces. I have just sold one because no one ever wanted to renew their rent contract. It was pet free. I used to live in the place and the air in the building was never very fresh.

  • Suzy OShea

    Ros Beck,

    Well said. Tenants with pets who rent any property that is a single dwelling must pay more rent to the landlord for taking out pet insurance to cover pest eradication and damage to furniture, carpets etc.

    House of multiple occupation are entirely unsuitable to accommodate tenants with pets.

    So if LLs don't want to be obliged to take in pets HMO is the way to go, if you can face the nannying service required!

    S l
    • S l
    • 05 January 2020 21:09 PM

    not so sure charging higher rent would be enough. Pest control costs a lot. Previously, we had to get him back twice and that comes to nearly 1000

  • icon

    As I suspected, it is in the Sun today that Jenrick will 'not rule out enshrining this in legislation.' So we will be forced to take pets even if we don't want them for all the reasons given. Clearly, the Government believes now that our houses are theirs to do what they want with; not far off from Labour's Communist plans for us - completely on the same trajectory.

    And I've just remembered another thing - my plumber was once bitten by a tenant's dog. I have also not been able to get access for gas safety certificates because of large, scary dogs and some workmen, rightly, refuse to go in under these threats. What clever ideas has the Government got to deal with this? Does the landlord just pick up the tab for a legal case for personal injury because they were forced to accept pets against their will by Government?

    S l
    • S l
    • 05 January 2020 21:13 PM

    or get sued by the hmo council housing department for failure to have gas certificate in place continously throughout the tenancy.

  • icon

    This is more of the usual woolly farce from govt. a statement designed to sound good but absolutely meaningless. It’s not law (show mw how it could be!) and it’s not enforceable. There is no possible way to tell a good pet from a bad one. I do already accept most pets anyway, although this is now restricted by the deposit allowable, and if this was to become law I might simply ‘prefer’ the applicant without a pet. Simple. Or will we now have to PROVE to an applicant that the pet wasn’t the reason they were rejected?!

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    The GOVERNMENT are their Own authors of this Mess, with the imposition of a 5 week ban on Deposits. Wales had the sense to acknowledge that Landlords may want to take more if there were pets to mitigate against the RISK of extra damage


    indeep I think you should take extra deposits for living in the rental home, more if you use the kitchen or shower, personally id charge for residential spiders as they dont pay any rent, and per ant if they have any, I think renters should live in the garden in a shed so not to ruin the actual property they are renting & some demand the right to have kids, pets what next

  • icon

    The only ones getting salty about this are the pathetic selfish landlords who only care about making the money off their precious property, not actually giving a toss who they put in it. I see no issue with introducing this act, choose your tenants carefully and take a larger deposit to cover any damages. You all have to do an extensive deep clean of the property before new tenants move in anyway. Your tenants are paying you money to live there, why shouldn’t they be able to be happy with a pet? As long as the terms and conditions of doing so are clear and understood.

  • icon

    A shame, Laura, that you do not know about the law restricting deposits to a maximum of five weeks.

    How long have you worked for Generation Rent?


    When did that happen? No one would rent to my 32 year old boyfriend without paying 6 months rent upfront because he was doing a business degree at the time. He specifically wanted his own flat miles off campus because he's wasn't an 8 year old student not that they cared


    @ Ebony Patterson Six months rent in advance is not a deposit. I don't know many 8 year old students either.

    Presumably your bf did not have a working, home owning guarantor either.


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