Why it Has Become Easier to Rent With Pets
In England, over half of all adults own a pet. However, when renting out a property, there have previously been a number of restrictions that would mean pet owners would have to choose between the property they liked or their beloved pets.
As it stands, only a very small fraction of landlords (7%) advertise their properties as pet-friendly, and it seems rather unfair for prospective tenants to have to give up on their pets so as to find a property to live in.
There has, however, been recent changes to the legislature, which has made having pets within a rented property easier and more readily available. For landlords that use the government’s Model Tenancy Agreement, they are no longer able to issue blanket bans on pets. The change is aimed at enabling tenants with ‘well-behaved’ pets to rent properties more freely.
For those using the Model Tenancy Agreement, consent for pets is the default position and the onus for disallowing pets shifts onto the landlord, who is given 28 days to object to a written pet request from the tenant, providing a good reason for the objection.
The introduction of the new legislation seeks to strike the right balance between helping pet owners find suitable properties for them and their pets whilst also respecting and protecting the rights of the landlord against pets that could be a genuine source of nuisance for the property.
The change is hoped to cater for the ever-increasing number of adults in the UK that own a pet and is especially relevant following an increased uptake of pets amongst UK households following the continuing pandemic. This, in turn, means that tenants that have pets will be catered for by more, and technically all landlords but those that are able to provide a good reason for disallowing pets on their property.
Protection for landlords
The potential motives for a landlord’s rejection of a written pet request on behalf of the tenant will usually involve situations such as when a property or flat is too small for a large pet (e.g. larger dog breeds).
Importantly, however, the new law still upholds the strong protection of landlords, as the tenant will remain legally bound to put forward the costs to cover any damage to the property caused by their pet. There has, however, been some frustration with the new rules as even the best-behaved pets will have some kind of impact on property, in what can be described as wear and tear, which adds to the knock-on costs for landlords.
All in all, however, although the Model Tenancy Agreement does enable and clearly facilitates the renting out of a property for tenants with pets, there are other tenancy agreements that landlords can choose to use when renting out a property.
Thus if the landlord chooses to use a different agreement as opposed to the one discussed above, they are no longer bound to follow the stopped blanket ban on pets and can thus prevent new tenants from moving in with pets.