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How does removing the blanket ban on pets affect landlords and tenants?

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Who keeps the pets after a separation?

Following the delivery of the King’s speech on 7th November 2023, there are many elements for not only landlords to consider, but also for tenants to also consider.

There is currently a blanket ban on pets in any rented property, banning pets of any kind to be kept in a rental home. However, the King’s Speech detailed the Renters Reform Bill, which was originally introduced to Parliament on 17th May 2023. This plans to introduce the removal of the blanket ban on pets in rental homes. Very few landlords currently allow pets, with just 7% of rental properties being pet friendly as of January 2021. 

However, this figure may now begin to change. The idea of the removal of the blanket ban on pets was first introduced when the government introduced the revised Model Tenancy Agreement on 28th January 2021. Other terms are also included in this agreement which can often relate to the upkeep of the condition of the property. A landlord could choose to rely on this updated model of the standard agreement when drafting a tenancy agreement for a prospective tenant. This template, published on the government website, detailed clause C3.5, which prohibits a landlord from exercising a blanket ban on pets however, this is not a requirement.

The proposed Renters (Reform) Bill comes two years after the release of the new standard tenancy agreement in January 2021, and hopes to upgrade the private rented sector by giving more flexibility to renters and their pets. Not only will tenants be allowed to request a pet if they wish to do so, but the introduction of the bill also means that a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse a prospective tenant who is in the ownership of a pet. A landlord may be reluctant to this, but if a landlord wishes to refuse, not only must they provide a good reason, they also must object to this in writing within 28 days. 

Even after a landlord’s agreement to this, the question may then be raised as to what would happen if a pet was to cause damage to their property. Although ending the blanket ban on pets would result in a landlord having no discretion to refuse a request for a pet, the interests of a landlord are still protected.

This is due to the Renters (Reform) Bill which includes proposed changes to be made to the Tenant Fees Act 2019, allowing landlords to require insurance to cover potential damage from pets. Therefore, properties will become more accessible to prospective tenants who are pet owners, whilst protecting the rights of landlords.

The Renters Reform Bill is currently in the process of being passed through Parliament. Once incorporated into law, this will make properties more available to tenants who are pet-owners, whilst also protecting the rights of landlords. The bill aims to upgrade the private rented sector, with greater security and quality accommodation for tenants.

Our specialist landlord and tenant solicitors can assist residential landlords and tenants with a range of matters including tenancy agreements. Contact our team today on 0161 696 6170.