The latest update from industry discussions about allowing more pets in private rental properties suggests there’s not been a solution yet to how to avoid damage and additional costs.
Industry supplier The Lettings Hub has been convening a forum, the latest of which - in late September - involved not o only Propertymark and the Property Redress Scheme but also a representative from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, as well as pet charities.
The debate has raged within the industry since the government - then under Boris Johnson’s leadership - introduced a revised model tenancy agreement which was much more welcoming to tenants with pets. More recently, but again before Johnson was ousted from office, a rental reform White Paper called for a default position of pets being allowed in private rental flats and houses unless there were exceptional factors to refuse them.
Much of the debate has so far centred around how owners can be judged to be responsible, and whether the Tenant Fees Act can accommodate charging tenants for additional insurance to offset possible pet damage to property.
However, the rental reform agenda appears to have been sidelined so far by the new Liz Truss government, casting doubt over some of the provisions which have proven controversial - including the need for agents and landlords to allow pets.
After the most recent Lettings Hub forum Timothy Douglas - head of policy and campaigns at Propertymark - said: “Research shows that allowing tenants to keep their pets leads to longer and happier tenancies, however, legislation over the past few years has left letting agents and their landlords feeling there is not adequate protection should damage to a property occur.
“Propertymark is keen to develop a solution that helps ensure more landlords and agents are happy to take on a tenant with a pet and look forward to continuing our work with the Pets in Lets forum to develop solutions to this issue that meet the needs of everyone involved.”
And Heidi Shackell, chief executive at The Lettings Hub, adds: “It is vital for us that the Pets in Lets forum represents the views, opinions, and ideas from a wide variety of stakeholders. We have welcomed new members and we were excited to be joined by The Department For Levelling Up, Housing And Communities.
“As we open the lines of communication and work with policy makers, we look to continue leading the way on developing solutions which meet the needs of agents, landlords, tenants and pets to ensure the changes within legislation are effectively implemented within the industry”
Ben Parker of Battersea - which used to be called the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home - said: “It’s really encouraging that landlords, letting agents and voluntary organisations are all invested in working constructively together on this issue, and we encourage the government to prioritise bringing forward promised rental reform legislation soon.”