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Landlords unable to issue blanket ban on tenants with pets

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Animal owners should be able to secure housing leases more easily as the government has unveiled plans which mean landlords will no longer be able to issue blanket bans on pets.

More than half of adults own a pet and the pandemic has seen many more take on the responsibility.

But currently, just 7% of private landlords advertise pet-friendly properties, meaning many people struggle to rent homes. In some cases, renters are forced to re-home their pets.

But, under the new Model Tenancy Agreement, landlords will no longer be able to issue a blanket ban on responsible tenants in England with well-behaved pets.

Instead, landlords must accept tenants with pets by default, though they have 28 days to object in writing a request from a prospective renter.

The agreement reads: “A tenant must seek the prior written consent of the landlord should they wish to keep pets or other animals at the property. A landlord must not unreasonably withhold or delay a written request from a tenant without considering the request on its own merits.

“The Landlord should accept such a request where they are satisfied the tenant is a responsible pet owner and the pet is of a kind that is suitable in relation to the nature of the premises at which it will be kept. Consent is deemed to be granted unless the written request is turned down by a landlord with good reason in writing within 28 days of receiving the request.”

Further, it states that owners must ensure their pets don’t cause a nuisance to neighbours or cause undue damage to the property.

If the landlord consents on the understanding that the tenant pays an additional deposit, then it mustn’t breach the deposit cap and must be protected in an authorised tenancy deposit scheme.

The guidance added that requests could be turned down because of large pets in smaller properties or flats or properties where having a pet could be “impractical”.

To ensure landlords are protected, tenants will continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property.

‘Strikes the right balance’

Housing minister, Christopher Pincher MP, said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and over the last year more people than ever before have welcome pets into their lives and homes.

“But it can’t be right that only a tiny fraction of landlords advertise pet-friendly properties and in some cases people have had to give up their beloved pets in order to find somewhere to live.

“Through the changes to the tenancy agreement we are making today, we are bringing an end to the unfair blanket ban on pets introduced by some landlords. This strikes the right balance between helping more people find a home that’s right for them and their pet while ensuring landlords’ properties are safeguarded against inappropriate or badly behaved pets.”

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