Pet owners who live in rented accommodations will be given new rights under the new Renters (Reform) Bill, in a move that has been welcomed by the UK’s major animal welfare charities. The proposal to prevent landlords imposing blanket bans on pets was first laid out in a renting reform White Paper published on 15 June last year.
Under this new bill, landlords will no longer be able to “unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet in their home”. In case of unreasonable refusal, the tenant will be able to challenge unfair decisions through a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman.
According to research by Battersea, while 76 per cent of renters either currently own or would like to own an animal companion, according to Zoopla just 7 per cent of private landlords list their properties as allowing pets.
“We’re receiving hundreds of calls each week from desperate owners forced to rehome their dogs due to a lack of pet friendly accommodation”
Michael Webb, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Battersea, said, “Tenants being unable to find anywhere suitable to rent with their pet is sadly one of the most common reasons people bring their animals to Battersea for rehoming. And as the rental market becomes more competitive, we can only expect it is going to get even more common.
“Not only will the long-overdue introduction of this Bill to Parliament bring us one step closer to opening up the many joys of pet ownership to millions of renters, it could dramatically reduce the number of dogs and cats we see being needlessly separated from their owners due to widespread restrictive pet policies. Further still, it will help keep tenants in their pet-friendly homes for longer – undoubtedly the best outcome for renters, pets and landlords.”
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, also welcomed the new Bill, saying, “The new measures introduced today are a potential gamechanger for responsible dog owners who rent. Dogs Trust has been campaigning on this subject for many years as we believe that the joy of pet ownership shouldn’t be exclusive to homeowners, but open to private and social renters as well. For too long, people living in rented accommodation have not able to enjoy the benefits and companionship of a pet just because of the type of housing they live in.
“We’re receiving hundreds of calls each week from desperate owners forced to rehome their dogs due to a lack of pet friendly accommodation. The measures announced today as part of the Renters (Reform) Bill will mean that many more dogs can stay living with their loving families. This is great news for both owners and for the animal welfare sector alike.”