Tenants with pets will already know just how difficult it is to find a property – according to the government website, only seven per cent of private landlords currently advertise pet friendly properties, despite around 50% of the UK population owning a pet.
Properties allowing pets have been in decline since the Tenant Fees Act came into place in June 2019. The Tenant Fees Act capped deposits, meaning landlords could no longer charge a higher deposit to offset the risk of damage caused by pets.
However, things may be starting to look a little more favourable for people wanting to rent with pets; here’s why:
1. The Model Tenancy agreement
The Model Tenancy Agreement is a government-created document which acts as a base recommended contract for landlords.
In January 2021, the Government updated the agreement to make consent for pets the default position. It also means that, under this agreement, rejections should only be made by landlords when there is good reason, and they must submit them in writing within 28 days of a tenant’s pet request.
These changes should mean that tenancies that allow pets increase throughout the year as more properties become available from landlords who adopt the Model Tenancy Agreement.
It also shows that the government are aware of this as an important issue, and that they are trying to help resolve the situation.
Although this is an encouraging sign, there is no legal obligation and should landlords wish to ignore or alter the agreement to fit their requirements; they can do so.
2. Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill
Andrew Rosindell proposed this bill in the House of Commons, originally in February 2021. The bill’s purpose is to remove and outlaw no-pet clauses from rental contracts, arguing that pets are equal members of the family and that blanket bans on pets are unfair.
The bill is currently awaiting its second reading, but it would go a long way to helping responsible pet owners find appropriate properties to let.
If the bill is introduced, it will change the landscape of renting with pets, giving tenants many more options, and landlords less power to stop you from having pets in their properties.
3. Build to Rent Sector
Build to Rent (BTR) is an emerging market within the Private Rented Sector (PRS), where developers build apartment blocks, houses, or neighbourhoods to be rented explicitly to tenants.
They are built and managed to encourage communities and long term tenants and focus on the needs of their prospective tenants.
Therefore, BTR properties often offer tenants great amenities such as high-speed Wi-Fi, on-site gyms, outdoor spaces, and social areas such as games rooms.
Another critical feature that more and more BTR developments are beginning to incorporate is offering pet friendly properties with Property Reporter, declaring that around 49% of all BTR developments are pet-friendly.
Not only does this offer pet owners the opportunity of a long-term home for themselves and their pets, but it also means living around like-minded people, being able to make friends and be part of a community.
Research conducted by Dogs Trust shows that searches for 'pet-friendly rentals' have increased dramatically since the end of lockdown. Since the BTR sector is eager to listen to lifestyle demands, plenty more BTR pet-friendly properties are sure to be on the way – something to look out for if you’re a pet owner looking to rent a new property.
These three factors should be very encouraging for pet owning renters, or renters considering getting a pet in the future. If you’re renting a property, protect both your belongings and cover yourself if you accidentally damage your landlord's items, all in one straightforward policy.