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pet ownership

Will there be more pet ownership following the Renters (Reform) Bill?

Future legislative changes may result in a rise in pets residing in rented accommodations. However, the implications for animal welfare remain uncertain.

Some of the primary changes resulting from the bill include the elimination of Section 21 and transitioning to rolling tenancies, as well as tenants’ rights to request permission for pet ownership in a rental property.

Upon the Bill’s enactment, landlords will be obliged to consider tenants’ pet requests in a manner that is not deemed “unreasonable.” Landlords will, however, be able to require pet insurance to offset potential damages incurred by pets on the property.

The Animal Sentience Committee has now intervened in the discourse surrounding the Renters (Reform) Bill, offering recommendations to safeguard the health and safety of animals, amidst projections of increased pet ownership.

What is the current prevalence of pet-friendly landlords?

Within the UK, many people have pets with about 36 million domesticated animals excluding aquatic species. Predominantly, dogs and cats constitute this figure, amounting to 26 million, while other popular pets include rabbits, tortoises, guinea pigs, horses, snakes, and more.

Government statistics indicate that nearly half of landlords exhibit reluctance to lease properties to tenants with pets.

Will there be a surge in tenant pet ownership?

According to Goodlord’s State of the Lettings Industry report in 2023 which surveyed over 1,500 tenants, about 36% currently do not own pets but express a desire to do so. Of these respondents, 95% expressed intentions to acquire a pet once constraints are lifted.

The Animal Sentience Committee has proposed clarification within the Bill regarding whether tenants must submit individual requests per pet. The Government has clarified that the Bill does not restrict tenants to a single pet, but it will offer guidance to elucidate this point.

What about animal welfare? An estimated 250,000 animals find their way to rescue centers annually. During the summer months, the RSPCA reports retrieving an abandoned animal every hour. Between 2021 and 2022, the RSPCA observed a 6% surge in dogs admitted into care facilities and a 4% increase in cats.

The Animal Sentience Committee has proposed integrating animal welfare training into the new ombudsman framework for private renters to address grievances against landlords. This initiative aims to address concerns that disputes over pet permissions may intersect with claims regarding animal welfare standards.

The information in this post is valid to the best of our knowledge on the date of posting. It is advised that you seek independent advice based on your individual circumstances.

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May 2024