Jenrick overhauls tenancy agreement to help end pet bans

by Nick Thompson

8:43 AM, 4th January 2020
About 10 months ago

Jenrick overhauls tenancy agreement to help end pet bans

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Jenrick overhauls tenancy agreement to help end pet bans

Out of the Blue the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has 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.

The Press Statement says:

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 Robert Jenrick 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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Comments

MoodyMolls

20:15 PM, 5th January 2020
About 10 months ago

It will be a fight to remove a tenant with a bad pet and damage caused can easily run into thousands before property regained. The last thing animals need is a poor owner who thinks it's the lastest gadget. What happens when owner goes and leaves the pet.
All these scenarios need to be covered.
When tenants get a pet from homing centre I have to provide letter to show I agreed.
One tenant left her cats and I couldn't get them rehoused as full. Neighbour was feeding them for ages they never got took by cat charity so became strays.
The animals welfare should be considered. They say food banks usage as increased if tenants can't feed themselves how will they feed a pet.

Jo Westlake

21:01 PM, 5th January 2020
About 10 months ago

What level of proof are tenants going to have to provide that a pet is well behaved? A letter from their vet, previous landlord, animal psychologist and previous neighbours? Anything less than that isn't really proof. What happens when that pet dies and they get a different one?

I have got some tenants with dogs but in all cases I have known the tenants for a significant amount of time before I became their landlord. Letting to people who you know to be decent, responsible human beings who happen to be pet owners is very different to allowing unknown tenants and their pets to move in and potentially cause huge damage to your property and annoyance to the neighbours.

MoodyMolls

23:08 PM, 5th January 2020
About 10 months ago

I have some tenants with dogs/cats and the house and gardens are well kept. You would not know they had a pet.
But I also have been at the other end, one tenant had a new dog every year.
Charging a higher deposit it gave a small safety net but mainly it made you feel more confident they were responsible.

Mick Roberts

7:17 AM, 6th January 2020
About 10 months ago

Well said Monty.

Some of my notes on it.

We all know what happened with scrapping Pet deposits and we told em it would happen. Now ALL pet owners pay more rent whereas before, if no damage, no charge. Now an unfair charge on every pet owner. And they've got Shelter and the others to thank for that.
Again this shows Govt interference trying to appease voters, the renters thinks Whey Hey Great! Whereas we know they end up worse off.

We told em this was gonna happen.
If they let Landlords charge a riskier higher deposit just as insurance companies charge more for more risk, then let's say 9 out of 10 pets caused no damage. They'd all get their deposits back. And the 1 out of 10 who did cause damage, they'd be the only one that paid. So all pet owners get houses, 90% get their deposit back. And only the 1 that caused the damage would pay.
As it is now, cause Shelter supported banning higher deposits, Landlords are now charging more rent to ALL pet owners, so ALL pet owners lose. All pet owners pay.
They trying to stop this. So what's gonna happen and is happening? Landlords are just refusing ALL pets. So ALL pet owners suffer. When in reality, it's only 10% that cause the damage.
Landlords know how to rent houses out. Govt doesn't.
I've had £1000 stairs chewed apart by dogs. It's not nice.

And I used to take ALL pet owners. I don't now cause of this Govt interference.

And Yes Marie, whereas before the Pet Owner knew straightaway they wasn't having it. Now they get messed about & get told We looking at all applications, when in reality the agent or Landlord ain't taking them. That's what's happening now with DWP UC.

David Lawrenson

8:53 AM, 6th January 2020
About 10 months ago

As Monty said, this is a direct consequence of the restriction of most deposits to five weeks. The government had been warned that this would happen.

So, now it is rescue the mess by hoping to "encourage" landlords to take pets, which as Rosalind Beck correctly says, will likely be the thin end of a wedge, like EPCs - initial encouragement later becoming mandatory that you cannot actually let a low rated property, except with certain exemptions.

But Marie is correct, it is our choice who we take and we can choose to select someone who does not have a dog/cat if we wish, and no one is any the wiser.

There are lots of reasons why landlords will not take pets - damage to property, annoyance to neighbours (dogs left alone tend to bark), people will not enter a property where there is a dog/ cat due to fear/ allergies etc.

At the end of the day, this is a logical consequence of deposit restriction. As an aside, it would be interesting to have some hard data on % of landlords who accepted pets before the deposit restrictions vs after. Maybe the NLA / RLA has the data from their ongoing surveys?

Our view from the time when deposit restrictions first announced: https://www.lettingfocus.com/blogs/2018/12/tenancy-deposits-to-be-limited-to-5-weeks-and-the-cost-of-possession-claims/

David Lawrenson
http://www.LettingFocus.com
Author of "Successful Property Letting"

Jan

9:27 AM, 6th January 2020
About 10 months ago

I've had tenants with a beautiful dog, I recognise the joy and comfort a pet can bring. However, when essential repairs and a Gas Safety Cert were required the tenants said they couldn't provide access as they were at work and the dog was loose in the house. No more pets.

Jireh Homes

9:29 AM, 6th January 2020
About 10 months ago

Whilst the sentiment for "well behaved pets" appears reasonable, the challenge is proving the point, which is why in years gone a premium applied to the deposit and requirement for deep cleaning post tenancy were some of the mitigating choices. As these options are no longer lawful then it no surprise many landlords are reluctant to consider. And of those who have allowed pets, many have horror stories of the damage caused. Goldfish are probably fine, but even an innocuous lizard can create a fire risk!

Lesley Clarke

9:49 AM, 6th January 2020
About 10 months ago

There is also the issue of the main lease with the Freeholder (if it's a Freehold property). I have a flat, which I rent out. Being an animal lover I don't have a problem with tenants owning pets, however in the main lease the Freeholder of the building clearly states that no pets are allowed in the building so even if I wanted to allow pets I would be in trouble with the Freeholder if I allowed it. So where does that leave me? There is also the problem of the animal disturbing the neighbours. My tenant got me into trouble through being too noisy. I got a letter from the Freeholder to say "sort it out" or you will be in breach of your lease, (which could in reality, mean I lose my property). It's all a bit of a nightmare!!

Dylan Morris

10:13 AM, 6th January 2020
About 10 months ago

How long before their “model tenancy agreement” becomes compulsory ?

Jo Westlake

10:19 AM, 6th January 2020
About 10 months ago

Leslie Clarke makes a very good point about leasehold properties.
Some properties just aren't suitable for pets and it is completely unreasonable to expect neighbours to just put up with dogs barking all day or encounter them on communal stairwells, etc.

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