Animal lovers rejoiced this month with the Renters (Reform) Bill. For thousands of people, having to contend with high rents and scant accommodation, add having a pet to the mix and you are hardly spoiled for choice. The Bill supports the right for tenants to have their pets live with them as landlords cannot unreasonably block the tenancy.
For a nation of animal lovers (and sadly also a nation where animal shelters are at full capacity), this comes as welcome news.
I’m a renter, what does this mean for me?
The Renters (Reform) Bill means people who rent can have their pets and landlords cannot unreasonably say no. The renter now also has the right to challenge unfair decisions where landlords have refused the tenancy because of the pet.
What can I do if a landlord refuses me and Mr Pickles?
If a renter feels they have been unreasonably refused tenancy, they will be able to complain via the Private Rented Sector Ombudsman or through court, who will make the final decision. The decision will be evidence based.
*It is important to note, if a landlord is the superior landlord, for example, owns the leasehold, there may well be covenants in the lease prohibiting pets.
Wait, what? If the landlord owns the leasehold, this Bill makes no difference?
When it comes to requesting a pet, correct. These new pet owner rights are only of use if the head lease/ superior lease is free of covenants stipulating a ‘no pet’ policy.
I’m a landlord, what about scratched doors and stained carpets?
Landlords will be allowed to require insurance to cover any damage caused by the pet.
When will this Bill become the law?
The Bill has been presented to parliament and MPs will debate it at the Second Reading. The Bill will come into force 12 months after that, so expect it to become an Act in October 2024.
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Please note the above is for information purposes only and is intended to be a short summary. It should not be treated as a comprehensive guide and should not be acted on without qualified legal advice.