Model tenancy agreements are to be overhauled in order to encourage more landlords to accept tenants with pets.
The Government said it will revise its model agreements, which are encouraged for use throughout England but are not mandatory, to remove restrictions on pets.
It said that currently only 7% of landlords advertise properties as suitable for pets, and that some tenants have to give up their pets when they move into a rental home. It is calling for responsible pet owners not to be penalised, but says it is right that rental homes should be protected from damage by pets.
The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is advising that total bans on renters with pets should only be implemented where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owners through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing.
“So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property.
“So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract to encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners. And 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.
“We’ve already taken action, banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits, saving tenants across England at least £240m a year, and I will continue to take more steps to secure a better deal for renters up and down the country.”
The revised model tenancy agreement will be published “later this year”.
However, a housing lawyer on the Nearly Legal website slammed the idea as a waste of time as the Government’s tenancy agreements are not mandatory, and queried who would decide whether pets were well behaved or not.
The website said that the idea didn’t even merit a tweet, let alone a “silly press release” with no meaningful reform promised or even contemplated.
The website said that it simply suggested Great Danes should not be kept in small flats, but stick insects should be okay.