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Should renters with pets be given greater rights?

Should renters with pets be given greater rights?

Monday 5th March 2018

Many people with pets still find it difficult to find a rental property, and that is largely due to the potential cost associated with pet damage.

Tenants can currently request permission to have a pet, but landlords can refuse on the grounds of the potential cost of repairs. But that could be about to change under Labour plans to give renters a "default right" to pets.

The Labour party put forward fresh proposals earlier this month to allow tenants to keep pets as the default position in rented homes unless there is evidence that the animal is causing a nuisance.

Shadow environment minister Sue Hayman MP said: "Recognising that currently for the majority of people under 30, buying a home is sadly less and less of an affordable option, Labour would seek to improve the rights of renters to own pets that do not cause a nuisance".

One study found that pets on average cause £650 of damage to their owner's homes, with the most damaged items being Carpets (63%), followed by chairs (49%) and sofas (43%). But Ajay Jagota of deposit free renting firm Dlighted believes that most landlords would welcome tenants with pets.

He commented: "Landlords never want to turn away good tenants, and in my experience will only ever refuse to allow pets in their properties for a compelling reason, such as their properties - flats for example - not being suitable for animals, and in some cases not beneficial to their welfare."

However, Labour's proposal to offer renters a default right to pets has raised a number of questions that need to be addressed, according to Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
In a statement last week, David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: "Will landlords be able to charge higher deposits to reflect the increased risks of damage to a property where pets are allowed? Will insurance premiums increase for landlords to reflect the greater risk of allowing pets to be kept as a default position? What happens in shared homes and blocks of flats where one or more of the tenants do not want, or are allergic to, a pet?

"Labour will need to respond positively to all these points if landlords are to have confidence in this suggested policy."