Landlords forced to allow tenants to have pets

Pets And Landlords
Maggie Davies

Government’s Renters Reform Bill will extend tenants’ rights over buy-to-let investors.

The Telegraph reports that tenants will soon have a legal right to keep pets in rented homes, forcing landlords to house four-legged companions in their rental properties.

Government proposals expected to be announced tomorrow will bring an end to buy-to-let investors placing blanket bans on pets in their lets.

The new rules will be included in the Renters Reform Bill white paper due to be published this week, which will also abolish so-called “no fault” Section 21 evictions.

Pets are a contentious issue as they cause higher maintenance costs for landlords. Just 5pc of landlords allow animals in their properties, the lowest share in five years, according to Goodlord, a rental platform. Many landlords have banned pets as huge demand from renters has meant they can find tenants elsewhere.

But a boom in cat and dog ownership throughout the pandemic has triggered a surge in demand from tenants with pets. A recent survey of renters by the Deposit Protection Service found 30pc had moved home to accommodate a pet.

It is understood Housing Secretary Michael Gove will grant landlords powers to request tenants with pets have insurance to cover any potential damage as part of his rental reforms.

The National Residential Landlords Association said mandatory insurance would go some way to protecting landlords, who are limited in how much deposit they can hold to protect against damage caused by pets. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 capped the maximum deposit at five weeks’ rent.

Chris Norris, of the NRLA, said: “Our biggest concern has always been that the law, as it currently stands, prevents landlords requiring insurance to cover the significant risk of pets creating damage to a property.

“We welcome reports that the Government has listened and responded positively to our concerns.”

But Mr Norris said it was vital the law took a “common-sense approach” to reflect the fact some properties, such as flats without gardens, would not be suitable for some pets.

He said: “Likewise, in shared homes the rights of those to have a pet need to be balanced with the rights of fellow tenants who might have concerns, especially those with certain allergies.”

Desperate renters have offered hundreds of pounds over asking prices this year, although most have still failed to win over landlords.

One prospective tenant with four sausage dogs offered £3,300 a week on a penthouse apartment listed at £3,000, only for the landlord to accept a lower offer from a tenant with no pets.

(Story source: The Telegraph)

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