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The Cat in the Flat: New standard tenancy agreement scraps blanket ban on pets

The Cat in the Flat: New standard tenancy agreement scraps blanket ban on pets

The new standard tenancy agreement, announced recently, allows responsible tenants with well behaved pets to secure tenancy agreements more easily.

Will Bartley breaks down what it means for landlords and tenants.

What are the new rules on pets in rented accommodation?

Figures from the PDSA show that over half of UK adults own a pet, yet just 7% of private landlords advertise pet friendly properties. The updated standard tenancy agreement is set to change this, making it easier for tenants to find accommodation that welcomes pets.

The new default position will be consent for pets, with landlords no longer being able to place a blanket ban on them.

What does this mean for landlords?

In response to the tenancy guideline changes, landlords have stated that they should be able to charge higher deposits due to the risk of pets causing damage to their properties. In line with this, tenants will legally have to continue to pay for or repair any damage to the property caused by pets. 

Will renters with pets have to pay increased fees?

As it currently stands, no they will not. The Tenant Fees Act was put into place back in 2019 which outlined that landlords could not take a higher deposit for tenants with pets. Prior to this, landlords could ask tenants for a ‘pet deposit amount’ or 'pet rent' as a part of the tenancy deposit.

Can a landlord reject the new tenancy agreement?

Yes, landlords can formally object to a pet request within 28 days of the request being made. However, a good reason needs to be provided as to why they are against pets; such as in a small accommodation or flats where owning a pet could potentially be impractical or cause a nuisance to neighbours.

The tenancy agreement is not legally binding, meaning that landlords aren't obligated to accept pets; but The Government hopes that landlords will welcome pets into their properties.

Will more changes be put into place?

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell has stated that further changes need to be put in place to "turn these proposals into law". Andrew previously campaigned for getting rid of no pet clauses.

Rachel Williams, senior parliamentary advisor at the RSPCA, said: "with landlords' support in encouraging responsible pet ownership measures through their tenancy agreements we could see real progress in animal welfare too."

A specialist tenant & landlord solicitors' view

Will Bartley, Tenant & Landlord Dispute Resolution Solicitor, said: "This would appear to be a positive step in the rental market at making more properties inclusive to pet owners and hopefully avoiding pet disputes after the commencement of the tenancy agreement. Tenants need to remain aware that damaged caused by their pets will get them in hot water, whilst landlords need to thoroughly consider the impact on neighbouring properties that their tenants pets may have."

If you need advice on this issue or any other landlord and tenant dispute, please feel free to contact Will Bartley on 01202 499255.

Landlord & tenant solicitors in Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and The New Forest

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