76% of renters currently own or would like to own a pet, according to animal welfare charity Battersea, but data from Zoopla shows that just 7% of private landlords list their properties as allowing pets.The Renters (Reform) Bill is currently making its way through Parliament. If passed, the right to keep a pet would be an implied term by law in rent agreements – a landlord would need to give a valid reason to exclude an animal.
What this could mean for Landlords
Landlords face current uncertainty on what would be deemed unreasonable grounds to withdraw consent for tenants to keep a pet. Chris Norris, Policy Director from the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), has called on the government to clarify what constitutes unreasonable grounds.
Nonetheless, government guidance states that it is impossible to draw out a complete list of what would be unreasonable grounds, due to the diversity of landlords, tenants, and properties in the private rented sector. Tenants will be able to challenge unfair decisions by landlords by taking their complaint to the Private Rented Sector Ombudsman or through the court for a final decision.
Landlords may also encounter difficulties in covering the costs of damage caused by tenants’ pets. A 2022 Propertymark report found that 85% of landlords and letting agents have incurred pet damage to their properties, with 57% unable to recoup pet damage costs. Most landlord insurance policies do not cover damage caused by tenants’ pets. However, the government has reassured landlords that the Renters (Reform) Bill will allow landlords to require insurance to cover damage caused by tenants’ pets.
What’s next for the Rental (Reform) Bill?
The Renters (Reform) Bill is currently at an early stage, making unusually slow progress through the House of Commons. The NRLA predict it could take 18 months for many sections of the Bill to become law, likely coinciding with the next general election, which is expected to be in late 2024.
For further information, check out guidance from the government on the Bill: Renting with pets: Renters (Reform) Bill – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
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