dog and cat

Should pet-friendly properties be compulsory in the UK?

Labour launched in February a 50-point policy document entitled ‘Animal Welfare for the Many, not the Few’ where they set out a pledge to include a protection for animals lives and strengthening animal welfare law in the UK which spans across multiple areas: factory farming, animals in sports, animals used in research and domestic animals. As a part of their manifesto, they’re looking to give tenants a ‘default right’ to keep pets in their rental properties.

2015 Consumer Rights Act

Under the current 2015 Consumer Rights Act tenants need to get permission from their landlord in order to keep pets, and will often sign an additional pet agreement for this right. The National Landlords Association argues that landlords should have the right to refuse tenants with pets, especially if they feel the rental property would be unsuitable for the pet, in proportion to the accommodation and the damage a pet could cause on the future rental prospects.

 

However, Labour’s proposal to offer renters a default right to pets has raised a number of questions that need to be addressed and a number of issues still remain unresolved. David Smith, Policy Director at the Residential Landlords Association, speculates the effect on landlord insurance: “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?”

However no two animals are the same and one of the best ways to avoid having to make an insurance claim or running away from the problem is to ensure the pet is well trained.

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Dogs are the most popular pets in UK homes with 24% of people owning one, and there are up to 40% of pet owners around the country. However, latest studies by Dog Trust found that pet on average cause up to £4,000 of damage during his lifetime and an average of £350 per year to their owner’s home (carpets, chairs and sofas).

Should a landlord have to accept pets in their properties? Pro-animal at lets defend various ways landlords might have to protect themselves if they open up their rental property to four-leg friends. The main option is taking a larger deposit at the start of the tenancy to cover any potential damage, or asking the agent to add a pet clause into the tenancy agreement. In this way, they could ask the tenant to accept responsibility for any additional damage caused by the pet (e.g. cover the cost of professional cleaning the rental property once they have moved out).

What is your opinion? Let us know on our Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #IntasurePetRental

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