New plans unveiled by the Labour Party today suggest that renters could be given the right to keep pets in their rental property after Jeremey Corbyn vows to be the party of animal welfare.
Currently, under the Consumer Rights Act (2015) landlords can only refuse for pets to be kept in their property based on reasonable evidence. This would include refusal on the grounds of the animal’s size, the amount of damage it could cause in the property and its impact on the future prospect of re-letting the property.
The Labour Party, therefore, propose that in order to refuse to let a property to a tenant with a pet there would need to be evidence that the animal was a nuisance. They, however, note they are open to discuss this with landlord and tenant bodies.
Currently, for landlords letting to tenants with pets, it is advised that additional but reasonable, requirements are made such as adding an additional clause or special condition whereby the tenant accepts any responsibility for pet damage in the rental property.
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Labour’s shadow environmental secretary, Sue Hayman believes that “…the five million households who are forced to rent really shouldn’t be denied the joy of keeping a pet. Pets are not only good company but they can also help reduce stress in their owners.
So we want to consult with landlords to see if we can give tenants the default right to keep a pet in their home, so long as they’re not a nuisance. It’s important we don’t just design policies for those fortunate enough to own a home and we reflect the needs of the many, not the few.”
In addition, Richard Lambert CEO at the National Landlords Association (NLA) has commented on this recent announcement saying “Around half of landlords say they are reluctant to allow renters to keep pets due to a perceived added risk of damage to the property, and the increased costs of repair the end of a tenancy.
You can’t take a blanket approach to keeping or refusing pets. The NLA has consistently supported schemes that encourage landlords to take on pet owners, such as the Dog’s Trust’s ‘Lets With Pets’, but landlords should have a right to refuse permission so long as they justify their decision. For example, common properties in the Private Rental Sector, such as high rise flats or those without gardens, may simply not be suitable for keeping some animals nor beneficial to their welfare.
However, tenants who keep pets do tend to stay for longer periods of time, and there are a few simple steps that landlords can take in order to mitigate the perceived increased risks, such as by inserting specific clauses and policies into their tenancy agreements”.
You can find more information and advice for landlords and letting agents on letting to tenants with pets via the Dogs Trust, ‘Lets with Pets’ website here.