Pets in rental accommodation

Published: 07/04/2022

The Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill has made little progress since our last blog on this subject in February 2021.

The Bill is designed to help responsible pet owners find suitable rental properties. It will allow pets to be kept in rental accommodation although its primary focus is the protection and welfare of domestic animals.

The Bill is still awaiting its second reading in the House of Commons and so is not likely to become law for some time yet.

If it does go ahead, it won’t give tenants an unconditional right to keep a pet.

Tenants cannot have a domestic animal in the rental property unless they hold a responsible animal guardianship certificate and can care for the animal. If living in the rental property puts the animal at risk, or causes danger or nuisance to people nearby, the pet will not be allowed.

Landlords can also restrict their tenant’s right to keep pets if they hold a certificate of exemption. Such a certificate may be issued if, for example, the accommodation is unsuitable for the animal.

On the positive side, allowing pets is the default position in the government’s recommended model tenancy agreement. Under this, if the landlord doesn’t want their tenant to have a pet, they must object in writing within 28 days of a written request from the tenant. The landlord must provide a good reason, e.g. in smaller properties where owning a pet would be impractical.