The Covid-19 Pandemic caused a huge soar in the number of pets which were being bought. As such, 2020 saw almost a 20% increase in the number of households which keep a pet compared to the year prior.
The years preceding the pandemic boasted a consistent number of households owning a pet, being around 40%-50% in the UK. However, with the increased time spent at home because of the pandemic, the increase in household pets reached peak levels.
It is no secret that rented property and household pets do not go hand in hand. The English Private Landlord Survey 2021 outlined that around 45% of landlords were unwilling to let to tenants with pets.
In an already strained market where rented accommodation is particularly scarce, pet owners face the increased difficulty of finding a home where they can also house their domestic pets.
The Renters Reform Bill as such has addressed the growth in household pets. The importance of change is highlighted within the ’12 Point Plan of Action’ of the Reform Bill, with the intention of giving tenants the right to request a pet in their property, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse.
The Current v Future Position
The current position is that a landlord is encouraged to consider whether the property could accommodate a pet and should only reject a request with good reason. Whilst a tenant can ask the landlord, there is no requirement for the landlord to say yes, or even consider the request.
However, the new Bill provides the tenant a statutory right to request a pet. As such, the landlord must consider the request without unreasonably withholding consent, and rejection should only be for a good reason.
To mitigate any concerns of damage to the property, a landlord may ask the tenant to take out pet insurance. To that effect, there will be an amendment to the Tenant Fees Act 2019 so that landlords can request that their tenants buy pet insurance.
Pets are a huge part of their owner’s life. The benefits they offer for mental and physical wellbeing support is unrivalled. The new law seeks to address the increase in pet ownership and provide more support to tenants who may find it otherwise difficult to find a home with their animal companion.
These changes are not in force yet. Whilst no dates have been set, the plan is to implement this Bill in two stages:
- Six months’ notice of the first implementation date will be given; after which all new tenancies will be periodic and governed by the new rules.
- All existing tenancies will transition to the new system on a second implementation date. After this point, all tenants will be protected from Section 21 eviction.
If you are a landlord or tenant who would like more information on this new Bill, please do contact Bendles friendly legal team on tel: 01228 522215.
Article written by: Jack Hannah