Until recently, the default position of most landlords was to include a blanket ban on any kind of pet in the tenancy contract. This is partly due to the fact that in England, landlords can only legally charge a deposit of five weeks’ rent, making it difficult to allow for any potential damage caused by the pet.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has provoked a backlash against the rules, to the extent that the government has now revised the situation. As people have been forced to spend more time at home, the desire to own a pet has increased, especially among single lonely people. The mental health benefits of keeping a pet are well known.
From the 28th January 2021, tenants who wish to keep a pet, and pass the responsible ownership test, proving the animal is well behaved and well cared for, will be allowed to do so under the revised agreement. Landlords will have a right to object in writing within 28 days of a request if they can provide a valid reason, such as lack of adequate space.
However, the new model tenancy agreement is not mandatory, so it is yet to have much impact. This situation may change, as Letting Agent Today reports that the Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill is currently awaiting a second reading in parliament.
There are mixed reactions to the proposals. Tenants who find a rental property that will accommodate their pet are likely to stay longer and be happier. It may also pave the way for landlords to charge higher rents, to compensate for any potential damage, and it could shore up demand for rental properties.
Some agents and landlords will remain firmly opposed to the idea, as they want to avoid stains and scratches to flooring and furniture, odours, ingrained hairs, and a general increase in the level of wear and tear in the property.
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