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Tenants with Pets - protection for landlords key to progress

A group wanting pets to be allowed in private rental properties says its research shows the issue is not opposition from landlords, but an absence of protection.

The National Office of Animal Health says it has conducted three-month surveys with landlords and tenants.

In both cases it asked a range of questions to understand how pet ownership in rentals could be achieved, and to learn of previous experiences from both groups.


NOAH’s new report finds that whilst landlords have concerns about renting to tenants with pets, 28 per cent of landlords were in favour of improving access to pets in rental properties if better protections for landlords are introduced, whilst a further 18 per cent supported access to pets in rental properties generally. 

A further 53 per cent stated that pet ownership is important, compared to only three per cent who stated it was not.

NOAH describes as “most telling” that 70 per cent of landlords felt that more protections need to be in place for landlords that do allow tenants to keep pets. 

One respondent said that the Tenant Fees Act (2019) - which restricts landlords to take a five-week maximum deposit in all cases - had meant they were unable to continue letting to pet owners as this deposit simply would not cover the costs associated with pet damage if caused.

NOAH says appropriate options could include allowing an increased deposit to be taken to specifically cover pet damage or charging tenants an increased rental rate or ‘pet premium’ or allowing an insurance policy to be taken out to cover damage caused by pets.

The ability to retain the option to choose whether or not to allow pets was important to many according to the report, which highlights that landlords sometimes do not allow pets due to concerns about the suitability of a specific property for pet health and wellbeing, as opposed to misgivings about pets in general.

NOAH has welcome the proposals from the Boris Johnson government, contained in the Renters Reform White Paper with plans to allow tenants to request to own a pet in a rental property, which under new rules, landlords cannot unreasonably refuse.

The White Paper also proposes to reform the Tenant Fees Act to enable landlords to request tenants to purchase pet insurance as part of their rental agreement, a measure that was supported by 17 per cent of respondents to NOAH’s survey.

NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard says: “Owning a pet has significant benefits for human health – both physical and mental – yet it has historically been very challenging in the UK to rent with a pet in private accommodation.

“Despite what is believed, our own research has shown that many landlords are not necessarily against allowing pets as long as their assets are protected. 

“This finding backs up the changes being proposed in the Renters Reform White Paper and should encourage the Government to move forward with the proposals at pace.

“The additional protection set to be introduced will ensure that responsible pet owners can keep a pet in their rental home, meanwhile landlords can rest assured that any pet damage that may be caused during the tenancy is covered through a pet insurance policy.

“In all, the Government’s proposed rental reforms represent a positive move for responsible pet owners in the rental sector, and a win for landlords who can now widen their pool of rental tenants whilst being fully insured against any potential pet damage.”


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