Can my landlord stop me having a pet?
The government have published a new policy paper on 16 June 2022 called, “A Fairer Private Rented Sector”, which outlines a number of planned reforms.
What is a fairer private rented sector?
The outlined reforms are meant to provide renters with greater rights, and increase the quality of housing across England, including the right to request that you be allowed to have a pet.
The government has acknowledged that domestic pets can bring joy, happiness and comfort to their owners, as well as providing physical and mental health support, especially through challenging times.
The government has revised the Model Tenancy Agreement, making it easier for tenants with pets to find private landlords who will accept them. The new legislation will ensure that landlords do not unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet, with the tenant having the right to challenge the decision.
Landlord advertising no pets allowed
The government is aware that some landlords currently advertise properties as, “no pets allowed”. The English Private Landlord Survey 2021 found that 45% of landlords were unwilling to let to tenants with pets. Currently tenants can ask their landlord if they can have a pet once they move into their property. However, there is no legal obligation for landlords to consider this request.
Under the new legislation, tenants will have a right to request to have a pet in the property. The landlord must consider and not unreasonably withhold consent. However, to mitigate any concerns about pets, the landlord may ask the tenant to take out pet insurance.
Amending the Tenant Fees Act 2019
The government will also be amending the Tenant Fees Act 2019. A landlord or agent cannot require an individual to make certain payments in connection with a tenancy in England. The only permitted payments are the following:
- The rent
- A refundable tenancy deposit
- A refundable holding deposit
- Payments to change the tenancy
- Payments associated with early termination of the tenancy
- Payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and
- A default fee for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device giving access to the housing, where required under a tenancy agreement.
The Tenant Fees Act 2019, will be amended to include pet insurance as a permitted required payment. All the current proposed reforms are still in the early stages, and no date has been set, for when these reforms are to come into force.