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Revealed: how rental reforms to allow pets in lets could work

2-minute read

Dog in the living room of a rental property
Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling

20 June 2023

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The government is planning to make it easier for tenants to keep pets in rental properties.

As part of the Renters’ Reform Bill, all tenancies will include a clause that allows them to have a pet if they get consent from their landlord.

Read on to find out how the new rules around pets could work and the steps landlords plan to take to protect their properties.

Rental reforms: how will new pet rules work?

The government’s plans for rental reforms suggest that all tenants will be able to keep a pet in their property if they get written consent from their landlord.

Currently, landlords can ban tenants from keeping pets as part of their tenancy agreement.

However, analysis of the draft Renters’ Reform Bill by letting agent trade body ARLA Propertymark shows that in the future landlords will have to consider all requests from tenants to keep pets. They will need to allow or deny requests in writing within 42 days.

If a landlord refuses a pet request and tenants think it’s unreasonable, they will be able to challenge the decision through the courts or a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman.

The Renters’ Reform Bill is currently at the second reading stage. Before becoming law, it still needs to pass a committee stage, report stage, and third reading in the House of Commons. It will then go through the same process in the House of Lords.

Landlords will be able to request pet insurance

The most common reason for landlords not wanting to accept pets in their properties is due to the increased risk of property damage.

The ban on tenant fees in 2019 capped deposits at five weeks’ rent. Before this, charging a higher deposit was one of the ways landlords felt they could accept pets while protecting their properties.

ARLA Propertymark’s analysis shows that as part of the new law, changes will be made to the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

This means that landlords who accept pets will either be able to:

  • request that the tenant buys insurance to cover the risk of property damage caused by animals
  • organise their own insurance, which is paid for by the tenants

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More pets could mean higher rents and deposits for tenants

Changes to the rules on pets in lets will force landlords to take a series of financial precautions, according to a new survey.

One in six landlords told Mortgages for Business that they wouldn’t be making any changes to their business model but they would increase their rents.

Almost two thirds (60 per cent) said they would increase rents to cover the cost of pet insurance, while half of respondents said they’d increase the size of tenants’ deposits to protect themselves against animal damage.

With security deposits capped at five weeks (or six weeks if the annual rental is above £50,000), landlords would have to put up their rent in order to increase the deposit.

While this could offer them more financial protection, it could make their property less appealing to tenants.

3 tips for allowing pets in your property

Landlords will still be able to deny pet requests if they have a good reason, but the Renters’ Reform Bill will make it much easier for tenants to keep pets.

With this in mind, it could be beneficial to start thinking about the steps you can take to allow pets while minimising the risk to your property.

As well as getting comprehensive insurance to cover your property against pet damage, here are three things you could do:

  1. If possible, arrange to meet the pet before accepting the request. This could help to put your mind at ease that the pet is friendly and well-behaved.
  2. Draft some pet rules for the property, and go through them carefully with your tenant.
  3. Regular property inspections can help you to spot any damage early and make sure your tenant and their pet are following the rules you set out.

How do you feel about allowing pets in your rental property? Let us know in the comments below.

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Conor Shilling

Written by

Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling is a Copywriter at Simply Business with over two years’ experience in the insurance industry. A trained journalist, Conor has worked as a professional writer for 10 years. His previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor specialises in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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