A leading veterinary body - the National Office of Animal Health, or NOAH - wants pets to be allowed in private rental properties.
NOAH has launched a campaign called ‘Securing the Right to Rent with Pets: Making One Health Housing a Reality’, to help improve access to pets for people living in privately rented or socially owned housing.
This includes encouraging wider use of the controversial government Model Tenancy Agreement and introducing new pet-friendly policies to protect tenants and property owners to promote responsible pet ownership.
It says: “Our pets are important for many reasons. They are a source of genuine companionship for many – which explains why more than 17m households own at least one pet – and being in the presence of pets has been scientifically proven to improve mental health, reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and improve our overall mood, helping to combat mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression.”
NOAH claims that not being allowed in private rented accommodation means renters are denied a healthier lifestyle through better daily routines and increased cardiovascular exercise through taking a companion animal for a walk or playing with them, therefore improving physical health too.
It continues: “Despite the significant and clear benefits, owning a pet in rented accommodation remains very difficult. According to rental start-up Home Made only 2.8 per cent of property owners in the UK advertise homes as suitable for tenants with pets, whilst Tenant Voice reports that 78 per cent of pet owners report experiencing problems finding a suitable rental property.”
Dawn Howard, NOAH chief executive explains: “We understand that renting with pets comes with a level of concern for landlords, whether this is perceived fear of damage to the property or badly behaved pets – however, we truly believe that widening access to pets will actually bring benefits to landlords that outweigh these often-inflated fears.
“For example, the RSPCA found tenants who are given permission to look after a pet in their rental property were likely to live in that property for twice as long compared to other tenants – creating long-term, secure tenants for landlords.
“Allowing responsibly kept pets also increases the pool of prospective renters for properties, meaning landlords are far less likely to struggle to find tenants, and will in turn have a more secure stream of income.
“It is these very benefits that we are keen to maximise in collaboration with landlords and housing associations, whilst ensuring we tackle any problems that could arise from pets in rented properties.”
Howard adds: “We welcome the gathering momentum in Parliament, kick-started by the amendments made to the Model Tenancy which we greatly welcome. Our campaign will seek to promote wider adoption of the updated Model Tenancy Agreement, as well as spending time understanding what other policies could support pet ownership in rented properties, to ensure both animal and human wellbeing is a priority in these rapidly evolving times.”