Good News for Pet Lovers – Blanket Ban on Pets to be Removed
The much-awaited fairer private rented sector white paper (“the white paper”) has finally been published. The white paper comes with good news for pet lovers who live in the private rented sector as it intends to remove the blanket ban on pets.
The white paper has set out proposals to provide tenants with a positive renting experience by allowing tenants to treat their private rented property as their own home whilst in occupation. This includes giving them the right to request to have their pet living with them and thereby giving them more freedom and choice in their own home. The government intends to bring in legislation which will prevent landlords from withholding consent for a pet to be brought into rented accommodation without a good reason. Landlords will not be able to unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to rent with their pet or bring in a pet. If such a request is made, then the landlord will need to provide reasoning for any such refusal. Tenants will also be given the opportunity to challenge any refusal for permission without a good reason.
However, there is still currently a lot of uncertainty with these proposed changes. It is not clear whether the proposals will allow for just one pet or multiple pets. Furthermore, it remains to be seen what sort of process will be introduced to challenge any refusal to allow a pet at the property. It is not clear whether that will be an internal process with the landlord or a more formal route to challenge any such decision by the landlord through the Ombudsman and/or Courts.
In addition to the above, changes will also be introduced to the Tenant Fees Act 2019 to allow landlords to require any tenant who makes a request to have a pet in the Property to take out pet insurance. The purpose of this is to cover landlords for any damage to the Property by the pet under the terms of the pet insurance. Again, there is uncertainty on how this will work in practice and whether the landlord can insist on specific cover amounts to be taken out under the policy.
There is still a lot of uncertainty on how this proposed change will work in practice and whether there will be categories of pets which are more likely to be accepted by landlords than other pets. It is also not clear on what kind of reasoning will be considered a reasonable refusal by the landlord not to allow the pet. This remains to be seen.
Overall, the proposed changes are good news for tenants as those who have been unable to rent with a pet in the past will now be able to do so.
Nikki Basin specialises in property litigation including residential possession claims, deposit protection claims, breach of contract, disrepair, new build claims, co-ownership disputes, claims under Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA) 1996 and professional negligence claims. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7940 4060.* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*