The RSPCA has welcomed plans from the UK Government to pass a law banning blanket bans on the keeping of pets in private rented accommodation in England.
In proposals contained within a new White Paper, A Fairer Private Rented Sector, the UK Government commits to legislation “to ensure landlords do not unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet in their home, with the tenant able to challenge a decision”.
The UK Government has already published model tenancy agreements encouraging allowing pets to be the default position in England’s rented sector - unless landlords have a justifiable reason for not allowing them to do so; but this latest change would put the plans into law.
The animal welfare charity says the plans give pets “the recognition they deserve” and – amid the ongoing cost of living crisis – will help ensure renting accommodation isn’t a “barrier” to enjoying the companionship and friendship provided by an animal.
Rachel Williams, RSPCA public affairs manager (Westminster), said: “Pets are members of our families and it’s heartbreaking that people have been in the position that they’ve been forced to rehome their much-loved pets to get a roof over their heads.
“We are delighted that the UK Government is recognising the importance of keeping pets and their families together with plans to legislate against blanket bans on keeping animals in the private rented sector.
“The RSPCA looks forward to working with Ministers to get these plans into law in England as soon as possible; in a move which will make clear that pets should be allowed in suitable, rented accommodation – unless there is a justifiable reason not to.”
69 per cent of people in Great Britain class themselves as “animal lovers”, according to the RSPCA’s new Animal Kindness Index – demonstrating the impact this legislative change may have.
The UK Government also intends to amend the Tenant Fees Act, allowing landlords to require tenants to have pet insurance – mitigating against any potential damage to the property.
Rachel added: “Pet ownership can be so rewarding – and helps facilitate happier, healthier tenants – so this will really benefit everyone in the private rented sector; while helping many animals find loving new forever homes.
“Landlords may be able to require tenants to have pet insurance too, helping provide security and encouraging responsible ownership, under these welcome new plans.”