Tue 02 Feb 2021
Paul Bennett, Director
The company and comfort that pets give has really come into its own during recent months. Whether you take your daily exercise by walking a dog or prefer a cat curled up on your lap, a faithful companion seems to make the day more bearable.
When it comes to keeping domestic pets in a property, however, not everyone is equal. While homeowners enjoy the freedom to choose four legged or feathered friends as housemates, it can be a different story for renters. According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, currently only around 7% of landlords advertise homes as suitable for pets. In addition, many tenancy agreements contain a ‘no pets’ clause. That, however, could change early in 2021.
In October 2020, the first reading of the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill - to be known as Jasmine’s Law after a Weimaraner - was heard and passed, with the second reading in the House of Commons due on 26th February 2021. If given Royal Assent, the Bill could force agents and landlords to remove ‘no pet’ clauses from their in-house tenancy agreements, ending discrimination against those renting with animals.
As precursor to this, it was announced on the 28th January 2021 that the Model Tenancy Agreement – the Government’s recommended (but not mandatory) contract for landlords to use – has been changed in favour of tenants with pets. It now states that ‘consent for pets will be the default position and landlords will have to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason.”
There are, however, set to be conditions attached to such a renting reform. As part of the Bill, pet owners would have to pass a test of responsible ownership and obtain a certificate from a vet before moving in. It is reported that dogs would have to be vaccinated and microchipped, and be responsive to basic training commands. Appropriate rules would also apply to other animals.
Before pet-owning tenants jump for joy, it’s worth noting that landlords have a history of being cautious on matters of wear, tear and damage where dogs and cats are concerned. It is possible that landlords will request a special clause in any pet-friendly tenancy agreement, stating that all pet-related repairs and replacements must be paid for by the tenant.
Pet-owners should also prepare to pay a slightly higher monthly rental premium when securing a London let that allows pets. The extra fee may compensate landlords who take out specific pet damage insurance products, as well as go towards redecoration and cleaning required at the end the tenancy.
If you have a pet and are looking for a property to rent in London - or if you are a landlord wishing to offer your property on a pet-friendly basis – please contact Behr & Butchoff’s lettings team today.