There has been a flurry of excitement across our pet loving nation following the Governments welcome announcement of changes to the Model Tenancy Agreement, making it easier for people to rent with pets. Sadly, there has also been much confusion, especially for those who are in the anxious situation of looking for a property to rent with their pets.
The news created quite a buzz and was reported and shared widely, with many pet lovers making the assumption that there would be an immediate shift to a more tolerant approach to those looking for accommodation with their pets. Unfortunately, this is not automatically the case. One newspaper headline this week stated that the law had changed with regards to renting with pets. This article was shared across social media platforms, creating false hope for many. *The publication did correct their mistake once it was pointed out to them.
The aim of this post is to clarify some of the confusion I have seen in various groups, where members are predominately people looking for pet friendly accommodation, often with little success or maximum stress.
The Model Tenancy Agreement
The Model Tenancy Agreement is a model agreement intended for use when a private landlord and tenant enter into a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy for a privately rented property in England. It represents a set of guidelines which are not mandatory or legally binding.
A recent article from NRLA (National Residential Landlords Association) explains: “Though this is not currently widely used by landlords, the revised model tenancy agreement will include consent for pets as the default position. This means landlords who opt to use this tenancy agreement are no longer able to issue blanket bans on pets.” “It is important to note that this action does not make it a legally binding requirement for landlords to accept pets, and that this does not apply to all tenancy agreements. Landlords still hold the right to refuse tenants with pets.” NARLA. Full article, Government revises model tenancy agreement to allow for pets | NRLA
Landlord Zone explain in a recent article; “Although this is a significant deviation from previous government policy, the new model agreement is only recommended to landlords and letting agents when issuing rental contracts. But it marks a significant shift by Ministers.” Full article, Should landlords be worried by the pet changes in the latest Model Tenancy Agreement? (landlordzone.co.uk)
Animal Law Expert Deborah Rook said:
“The government are expressly recognising the importance of pets to people and how traumatic it is to have to give up a pet when moving into rental housing, this is great news. However, merely changing the wording in the model tenancy agreement will not do much on its own. The previous model tenancy agreement includes a pet covenant that permits pets with prior consent but many private landlords just remove the covenant and add a blanket ban on all pets instead. Without legislation like that in France and Ontario, many landlords will still include blanket bans on pets.” Its just over a year since Robert Jenrick MP announced a review of the model tenancy agreement, our thoughts back then; New landlords rule to allow pets | PAAW House
What Next – Jasmine’s Law
In October last year Andrew Rosindell MP introduced a private members bill to Parliament; Jasmine’s Law. The legislation, backed by animal rights and animal welfare organisations, including the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and Blue Cross, will prevent landlords from banning “responsible owners” from bringing pets into rented accommodation.
Andrew’s Campaign welcomed this most recent nod of support from Government. Andrew Rosindell MP said: “This is a significant step. As the Housing Minister made clear in his statement, blanket bans on pets are ‘unfair’ and these changes are clear indications that the Government recognises the extent of the problem. I am delighted to have played a role in securing this change. Nevertheless, the Model Tenancy Agreement is just a template. It is not legally binding. Consequently, this campaign must continue, and we must turn these proposals into law to ensure a pet in every home.”
Read Andrew’s full press release here, Model Tenancy Agreement to be made pet friendly in major win for “A Pet in Every Home” campaign | Andrew Rosindell
The outgoing Model Tenancy Agreement didn’t completely discriminate against those whose family include pets. The new agreement gives much clearer guidelines on the issue, and clarifies the Government’s positive stance on this important topic. The Model Tenancy Agreement is still however nothing more than a set of guidelines. Unless landlords accept these guidelines and chose to use the Model Tenancy Agreement little changes.
Formal legalisation such as that proposed by Jasmine’s Law is in my opinion, in the interests of all, balanced for the benefit of both tenant and landlord. As a nation of pet lovers, its shocking that according to Government only 7% of private landlords advertise pet friendly properties. This has led to some renters having to give up their pets. With many innovative businesses across the UK recognising the importance of our pets and embracing pet friendly models this proposed legalisation is a logical way forward?
Build to Rent Schemes have been using the pet friendly model as a key marketing tool for some time, recognising pets as family. Perhaps its time for private landlords to embrace this logic, as tolerance and acceptance becomes the norm! Pet Friendly London: The Secret Life of Pets | PAAW House
Support Jasmine’s Law
Follow this link to sign the petition in support of Jasmine’s Law to Ban Blanket No Pet Clauses Ban Blanket No Pet Clauses in Tenancy Agreements & Leases. – Petitions (parliament.uk)
Follow this link to generate an email you local MP in support of Jasmine’s Law Campaigns | PAAW House