Pets in rented accommodation

Published: 05/02/2021

Back in October 2020 a Private Members‘ Bill, the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill, was introduced in Parliament. The Bill is to establish rights to keep pets in domestic accommodation provided the owner has demonstrated responsibility and care for the pet. It proposes that pet owners pass a test of responsible ownership by obtaining a certificate from a vet to be produced before moving into rented property. A further requirement is that all cats and dogs kept in rented accommodation must be microchipped and their details held on a national database.

The government has just released its model tenancy agreement now updated to be more pet friendly. Under this revised agreement, landlords will not be able to ban pets altogether. Instead landlords must accept a written request for consent to the keeping of a pet unless they object in writing with a good reason within 28 days of request. This should make it easier for tenants with “well-behaved pets“ to secure a tenancy as landlords can only refuse consent where there is a “good reason”. Examples of a good reason include large pets in smaller properties or otherwise properties where having a pet could be impractical.

To ensure landlords are protected, tenants will continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property caused by their pet.

However landlords are prohibited from charging the tenant a fee for having a pet. Also, if their consent is conditional on extra deposit being paid by the tenant, the total deposit must not breach the deposit cap introduced under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

The Bill is not yet law and the government’s model tenancy agreement is only voluntary. Therefore at present landlords will still have the final say as to whether or not a pet will be permitted.

If you need advice on this issue, please contact us.