Jenrick overhauls tenancy agreement to help end pet bans

Housing Secretary calls on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes

Photo of a cockerpoo breed of dog.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP has today (4 January 2020) called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes as he announced an overhaul of the model tenancy contracts.

More young people and families than ever before are renting and should be able to enjoy the happiness that a pet can bring to their lives. However, currently only around 7% of landlords advertise homes as suitable for pets, meaning many people struggle to find a home suitable for themselves and their pets. 

Some renters have been forced to give up their pets all together simply because they have been unable to move into a rented property with one. 

But the government’s model tenancy contracts for renters, which can be used as the basis of lease agreements made with tenants, will now be revised to remove restrictions on well behaved pets - to ensure more landlords are catering for responsible pet owners wherever possible.

The government is clear there should be a balance with responsible pet owners not being penalised and landlords being more flexible in their approach, and it is right that landlords’ properties should be protected from damage by badly behaved pets.

But total bans on renters with pets should only be implemented where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical. 

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

"Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owner’s through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing. So, it’s a shame that thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning property.

"So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract to encourage more landlords to consider opening their doors to responsible pet owners. And we will be listening to tenants and landlords to see what more we can do to tackle this issue in a way that is fair to both.

"This is part of this new government’s mission to improve life for tenants, recognising that more are renting and for longer in life. We’ve already taken action, banning unfair letting fees and capping tenancy deposits, saving tenants across England at least £240 million a year, and I will continue to take more steps to secure a better deal for renters up and down the country."

Further information

The government will be bringing forward a bill to update the relationship between tenants and landlords as well as to introduce a Lifetime Deposit scheme, to make moving between properties easier and cheaper. 

We will also establish First Home, a new programme for first time buyers, enabling them to purchase a new build property in their local area at a 30% discount.

The national model tenancy agreement is the government’s recommended contract for landlords to use when signing on new tenants for their properties in England. It sets out the minimum requirements and can be altered by landlords to cater for specific circumstances, tenants or properties.

A revised model tenancy agreement will be published by the government this year. 

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