Housing Bill to protect renters with pets in Scotland

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Kept Animals Bill

The Housing (Scotland) Bill, which was published on 27 March, aims to prevent homelessness and strengthen tenants’ rights through several measures – including better protection for renters with pets.

It’s no mystery that many rentals in the UK have a blanket ban on pets, putting pet owners in a delicate position in what’s already a difficult housing market. In some cases, the lack of affordable pet-friendly rentals force people to make the most difficult choices: rehome their pets, or become homeless with them.

The Bill’s proposals include long term rent controls for private tenancies and stronger protection against eviction, as well as new rights to keep pets and decorate rented homes.

pet theft tears families apart
Image by Myriams-Fotos on Pixabay

Claire Wilson-Leary, Public Affairs Manager at Dogs Trust, welcomed the Bill, saying, “We welcome proposals within the Housing (Scotland) Bill that, if passed, will mean landlords cannot unreasonably refuse consent for private tenants to keep a pet. We have long called for stronger rights for responsible dog owning tenants to be able to keep a pet.

“We will be engaging with the Scottish Government to clarify details of when it would be reasonable for landlords to refuse consent to ensure that tenants are not unjustly denied the right to keep a pet.

“We are also pleased to see that the Bill includes provisions to support social housing tenants who are experiencing domestic abuse. Through Freedom, we support dog owners experiencing domestic abuse, and we will continue to advocate for them so that tenants fleeing domestic abuse are also considered.”

Dogs Trust’s Freedom relies on a network of foster homes to provide temporary care for dogs whose owners have to flee domestic violence, but are unable to immediately take their pet with them due to the lack of pet-friendly refuges. If you think you can help or would like more information on the service, visit their website.

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