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Government to overhaul model tenancy to encourage landlords to accept pet-owning tenants

Current and vague official tenancy agreement used by many lettings agents will be updated to give landlords fewer reasons to reject tenants with moggs or dogs.

Nigel Lewis


The government’s model rental contract that is used by many letting agents to issue tenancy agreements will soon be changed to encourage landlords to take on more tenants with pets.

At the moment it says tenants must not keep any pets at a property without the prior written consent of the landlord but prevents landlords operating a blanket pet ban and requires them to turn down requests only ‘with good reason’.

The current model contract only gives one example of a ‘good reason’; that a large dog would be likely to damage property.

Given the vague nature of the model contract,very few landlords allow pets; only 7% of rented homes are advertised as suitable for pets, the government claims.

On Saturday housing secretary Robert Jenrick said the model contract would now be revised to encourage more landlords to make room for responsible owners of moggies and doggies.

To keep landlords happy, Jenrick also said the rules will be amended to ensure their properties are protected from damage by badly-behaved pets.

But these new measures do not go as far as Labour’s plans. It recently proposed that pets should be allowed ‘by default’ and that landlords and letting agents would then have to ‘prove’ a pet was likely to damage a property.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Tim Hassell, Draker Lettings, imageTim Hassell (left), Managing Director of Draker Lettings, who is a dog owner and has been both a landlord and a tenant, has strong views about Government intervention in this matter.

“The choice of tenant for a privately owned property should be exclusively the owner’s, without interference from the Government.

“Encouraging a significant increase in having pets in rental property will necessarily cause more wear and tear to the property which after the latest change in legislation (reducing deposits and banning tenant charges) leaves the landlord much more vulnerable.

 “I have three dogs and I love them.  But they are dogs and are not perfect!  Pet owners need to be very careful to prove that they are responsible and most importantly accountable for any damage that their pet may cause. ”

Read more about pets and landlords.







January 6, 2020

One comment

  1. Pets or no pets is a constant issue for agents and landlords. What is ‘reasonable’ and what isn’t – which in turn, can only lead to disputes.

    In reality, tenants are responsible for ALL damage caused to a property during their tenure regardless of Fido chewing doors or little Jimmy expressing his creative thoughts in crayons all over the house!

    A much more straight forward and simpler approach is needed – pets or no pets!

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