Landlords must let tenants keep chickens and rabbits

Landlords must let tenants keep chickens and rabbits

12:56 PM, 19th July 2011, About 13 years ago 5

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Rabbits and Chickens are exempt it appears

Landlords with a no pets policy for rental properties need to watch out for a little known legal loophole which lets tenants keep chickens and rabbits.

The loophole was uncovered by a tenant with pet chickens who was threatened with action for breaching her tenancy agreement by a housing association.

Natasha Brooks keeps Penny and Henry in the garden of her Greater Manchester home rented from New Charter Housing Trust.

Miss Brooks scoured the law books and argued the landlord was wrong and that she had not breached the no pets clause in her tenancy agreement because the wording does not apply to pet chickens and rabbits.

The landlord’s legal team checked out her argument and confirmed Section 12 of The Allotments Act 1950 nullified a no pets policy in any assured shorthold tenancy agreement.

According to the Act, the occupier of any land has the right to keep pet chickens and rabbits and can build or place any buildings on the land for looking after them.

The right does come with conditions:

  • Keeping chickens and rabbits as pets is allowed, but not for any trade or business, so selling eggs would negate the right
  • Keeping the chickens and rabbits must not cause a health issue or nuisance, so complaints about restless chickens would probably mean losing the right to keep them as pets as well.

The law gives the right to the ‘occupier of any land’, which covers homes let on assured shorthold tenancy agreements.

A spokesman for the housing trust said: “The tenancy agreement is not explicit on the keeping of chickens. We are grateful to Ms Brooks for bringing to our attention the provision of Allotment Act 1950 which provides clarification and we are glad to have been able to resolve the matter before ending up with egg on our face.

“On this basis of the clarification provided by the Allotment Act, Ms Brooks can keep Henry and Penny, providing that all relevant tenancy conditions and legal obligations are complied with.”

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8:52 AM, 22nd July 2011, About 13 years ago

Good. It is bad enough having to rent, often small, badly designed places, without also not being able to keep a pet, which most people would think was a right. England is becoming like the USA where renters aren't even third class members of society. Try not being allowed any sort of pet, not being allowed to hang your own curtains, have friends stay at all, not allowed to re-paint walls or hang a picture. Yes folks, I lived in CA and all that I have written is true.


6:03 AM, 16th August 2013, About 10 years ago

Is there anything like this in the US? Thanks!

Vanessa Warwick

8:52 AM, 16th August 2013, About 10 years ago

No landlord should fear pets - whether they be chickens, rabbits, snakes, or anything exotic - because the inventory would protect a property against the negative impact of pets. In these cases, it might be justifiable to take a bigger deposit though.

I know of a house that had every single skirting board chewed off by a mad dog!

The only problem with chickens if that is there is a cockerell involved, it can be very annoying to neighbours be woken at 5.00 a.m. by a cockerell crowing!

Treat people and their situations on a case by case basis and find them a property that suits their needs i.e. in a rural area, cockerell crowing would not be an issue.

My Bengal Tiger cat would be welcome in a rental property. He taught himself to use the toilet like a human. Watch my video for a smile!

Romain Garcin

9:50 AM, 16th August 2013, About 10 years ago

I've always found that law quite interesting...

14:05 PM, 8th October 2014, About 9 years ago

Gosh I wish I'd known about this years ago. I rented for 13 years and only bought my rabbits once I became an owner occupier.

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