Later this morning (Wednesday 14 October), Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell will deliver a speech in Parliament as part of a 10 Minute Rule Bill to propose legislation dubbed ‘Jasmine’s Law’ – aiming to place strict limits on the ability of landlords to impose “no pets” policies in rented accommodation, provided that the renters prove they are a responsible owner.
Such policies can mean responsible owners are forced to give up beloved pets if they need to move and are unable to find an affordable place to rent where their pet is also allowed, while homeless owners are faced with the choice of giving up their pet or staying in the streets. Under current laws, if homeless people turn down social housing due to no pets clauses, they are told they are making themselves “intentionally homeless” and will be refused further housing assistance.
Battersea Dogs & Cats home has been long campaigning for pet-friendly rental reforms. Housing issues are now the second biggest reason behind people giving up their dogs to the charity.
In the speech, Andrew will remark that “every year, pet owners who are trying to move into new rented accommodation are faced with the reality that their family could be torn apart”.
Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection Bill) – which is backed by animal rights and animal welfare organisations including the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, PAAW House, Cats Protection and Dogs on the Streets – will be named after a dog, Jasmine, who was separated from the owner, Jordan Adams, because of no pet clauses.
The speech will also highlight the tragic case of John Chadwick, a homeless man who “ended his life after the only housing option his local council provided him with was one which meant separating from his beloved pets”.
Clare Kivlehan, Head of Outreach Projects at Dogs Trust, says, “We would like to thank Andrew Rosindell MP for raising this important issue in Parliament. Sadly, one of the main reasons for dogs being handed over to us is that their owners have had problems finding accommodation that will accept pets.”
A ten minute rule bill is a type of Private Members’ Bill that is introduced in the House of Commons under Standing Order No 23. The ten minute rule allows a backbench MP to make his or her case for a new Bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes. An opposing speech may also be made before the House decides whether or not the Bill should be introduced. If the MP is successful, the Bill is taken to have had its first reading.
Andrew says, “I’m delighted to have secured this slot to speak about an issue deeply important to me. As a dog owner for twenty five years, I understand as well as anyone the connection a person can have with their pet and for too long I have heard tragic stories of pet owners separated from their pets because of blanket bans that landlords implement.
“It is a huge opportunity to increase awareness of this issue and to pressure the government to make changes that they promised earlier this year. In January the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick rightly called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes, but as of yet this hasn’t been followed by any legislation.”
UPDATE: the Bill has received cross-party support. A second reading was scheduled for January 29, but has since been cancelled. There is as yet no date for its second reading.