Landlords are no longer allowed to refuse to rent their property to a
tenant who has a pet, new government guidelines state.
The new model tenancy agreement, introduced by the Ministry of Housing, is
a recommended contract that landlords should use.
This agreement now prohibits the automatic blanket ban on having pets.
However, barring a tenant from having a pet is still possible though it
will be more difficult to do.
In response, the National Residential Landlords' Association (NRLA) says
the government should be flexible when it insists that the private rental
sector offers pet-friendly tenancies.
The NRLA says: "We are calling on the government to enable deposits to be
more flexible to reflect the greater risk."
The NRLA says that tenants should either have insurance in place when
taking up a tenancy or be able to pay the landlord extra rent - though they
highlight that such payments to a landlord are banned under the Tenant Fees
The landlords' association is also emphasising that the government's move
last week to update its model tenancy agreement does not make this a
compulsory document for landlords to use.
Under the agreement, a landlord will need to object in writing within 28
days of receiving a request from a tenant with a pet, and they must provide
a good reason for refusing the tenancy.
Refuse a tenant with pets
The government says that landlords can only make an objection to refuse a
tenant with pets for a good reason, such as having a small flat or property
where having a pet will be impractical.
Also, the tenant will continue to have a legal duty to repair or meet the
cost of any damage to the property.
The managing director of Accommodation for Students, Simon
Thompson, said: "This is a contentious issue, and it is important that
landlords are able to decide who can live in their property, whether they
have pets or not.
"If landlords cannot refuse a tenant with a pet, then they must ensure that
the deposit will cover any potential damage and repairs or ensure that
their tenant has the relevant insurance to cover these costs."
Tenants patterns are shifting during lockdown
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that disrupted working patterns and travel
restrictions as part of the coronavirus lockdown are leading to a shift in
The findings from Housing Hand, a rental guarantor
service, highlights that the private rental sector saw a big shift in
demand between November 2019 and November last year.
One impact has been the decline in the number of international students,
though they say a surprising upturn has been seen with the number of
international working professionals rising by 8%.
The firmís operations director, Terry Mason, said: "Despite the wider
economic, political and medical situation, the demand for rent guarantor
services from overseas working professionals flies in the face of what we
expected to see."