Tenancy agreements to be overhauled to remove restrictions on pets

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.



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  1. Rob Hailstone

    As someone with a pet (I am currently renting a property), this is very worrying. I don’t think I disclosed the existence of our tortoise, Roxy, when we took occupation. Thank goodness she is a tortoise and has her own home (mortgage free) if she is evicted from ours!

  2. revilo

    Dear Government. It’s not the tenancy agreement that needs revision, it’s the ability to take a suitable ‘pet deposit’ that is the issue! Sort that bit out and landlords will be much more flexible in their approach.

    Of course the worry here is that some bright spark will decide that refusing pets is discrimination! Then the rental sector will have an even bigger mess to deal with.

  3. alanw

    But what about the welfare of the animal- particularly dogs- when tenants are out at work?  I gave previously refused a tenancy on those grounds. Am I now to be put at a disadvantage just to pander to tenant-soft PC policies?

  4. Will2

    Is it not time the government put its money where its big mouth is?  Let them invest in housing and I promise not to tell them who to rent too. What restrictions they do or do not allow and how to run their business.  In the meantime keep their interfering noses out of mine if you want me to keep my investment in housing and in the uk.

    1. Will2

      Clearly some people have not been on their hands and knees with bleach water trying to get rid of the smell of dog urine after throwing away carpets and underlay.  Responsible dog owners would not be a problem but you don’t know who is good or who is bad and our glorious government  does not allow deposits to compensate for the risks.

  5. HMO Specialist

    A specialist insurance policy for pet damage would be the answer but guess what? They are caught by the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and it may be unlawful for landlords to insist on the tenant paying for the insurance. It might be possible to increase the rent and for the landlord to pay for the policy.

  6. PeeBee

    Even the best housetrained pets can have accidents – and as they get older the probability increases.

    Similarly, a cat may never have clawed the furniture – until one day…

    That being said – a large proportion of prospective tenants have pets.  Simply saying NO without individual consideration being given is ruling out most of the pool of available tenants and could lead to bigger losses in void periods than the cost of ‘damage’ that pets can be responsible for.


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