Tuesday 07 September 2021
Pets are a large part of the UK culture. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (PFMA), there are now 34 million pets in the UK across 17 million homes. With a total of 29 million homes in the UK, this is almost 59% of the country owning a pet.
Cats & dogs were the firm favourites with 12 million cats & 12 million dogs. 3.2 million small mammals, such as guinea pigs and hamsters were next favourite, then 3 million birds & 1.5 million reptiles. In addition, another five million households keep fish in an aquarium.
Lockdown saw a total of 3.2 million households in the UK acquiring a pet since the start of the pandemic, according to the PFMA. 74% said their pet had helped their mental health while they were coping with coronavirus curbs.
The association's survey of just over 5,000 people suggests Generation Z and Millennials are driving the increase. With this age group the largest percentage renting a property, allowing pets in a rental property is something that seems totally necessary.
Currently Landlords can restrict their tenant’s right to keep dogs or domestic animals if they hold a certificate of exemption. Such certificates may be issued if the landlord or another tenant has a religious or medical reason not to come into contact with a dog or domestic animal or the accommodation is unsuitable for the animal.
However, the model tenancy agreement has changed to allow renting with pets. Alongside the proposed bill, the Ministry of Housing updated their standard tenancy agreement so that landlords cannot issue a ‘blanket ban’ on pets.
Allowing pets is now the default position on the government’s recommended model tenancy agreement. If a landlord doesn’t want their tenant to have a pet, they must object in writing within 28 days of a written request from the tenant. The landlord must provide a good reason, such as in smaller properties where owning a pet would be impractical.
Tenants will still have a legal duty to cover the costs of any damage caused by pets, but more tenants will be able to find suitable accommodation.
Back in 2016, 64% of landlords reported that they would be happy to accept a tenant renting with pets. But with the Tenant Fee Ban capping deposits in 2018, no doubt some landlords feel differently now as pets are likely to cause more damage to a property than tenants without one.
Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and over the last year more people than ever before have welcome pets into their lives and homes. This [change] strikes the right balance between helping more people find a home that’s right for them and their pet while ensuring landlords’ properties are safeguarded against inappropriate or badly behaved pets.“
Timothy Douglas, Policy and Campaigns Manager, said: “There is often more of a possibility of damage to a property where there is a pet, and as warned by Propertymark and others, the limitations caused by Tenant Fees Act has reduced the appetite for many who rent out property to take on greater risk.
The strength of feeling amongst politicians, charities and sector organisations means that the UK Government must now revisit the rules and explore options to remove barriers that shouldn’t have been there in the first place, and support more people to rent with pets.”
In addition, Propertymark has announced that it is backing a new report which looks at how the Tenant Fees Act is impacting tenants with pets, following concerns about security deposits and pet damage insurance under the act.
As a landlord we understand the additional risks having a pet in the property brings, however with pets being such a large part of peoples lives & generation rent among us, is it unfair to reject tenants based on this?
Let us know what you think!