Government revises model tenancy agreement to allow for pets
The Government has revised its model tenancy agreement to allow for “well behaved pets” in rental properties.
Though this is not currently widely used by landlords, the revised model tenancy agreement will include consent for pets as the default position. This means landlords who opt to use this tenancy agreement are no longer able to issue blanket bans on pets.
Landlords will be required to object in writing within 28 days of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason for this.
It is important to note that this action does not make it a legally binding requirement for landlords to accept pets, and that this does not apply to all tenancy agreements. Landlords still hold the right to refuse tenants with pets.
The Government says landlords should only make a rejection where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. Tenants will continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property.
The government’s model tenancy agreement for renters can be used as the basis of lease agreements made with tenants. It is the Government’s recommended contract for landlords in England.
Commenting on the revised tenancy agreement, Housing Minister Rt Hon 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.”
Plans to revise the Government’s model tenancy agreement to allow for pets were first announced in January 2020.
A spokesperson for the National Residential Landlords Association said:
“We recognise the importance of pets in providing companionship especially to those living on their own. However, pets are not always suitable in certain properties such as large dogs in small flats without gardens. There is often more a risk of damage to a property where there is a pet.
“We call on the Government to enable the level at which deposits are set to be more flexible to reflect this greater risk. We are also calling for a tenant to either have pet insurance or to pay the landlord for it to be allowed as a requirement for a tenancy where relevant. At present payments such as this are banned under the Tenant Fees Act.”
The NRLA has a range of different tenancy agreements available online for landlords to download.