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Candidate makes pet-friendly tenancies a political hot potato

One of the candidates for next year’s London Mayoral election wants to put pet-friendly tenancies for the private rental sector as a key policy.

Farah London, a businesswoman running as an independent against Labour’s Sadiq Khan and at least two other candidates, says she wants to allow Londoners “to keep their beloved animals.”

She claims that despite over 2.7m people renting in London, only 8.5 per cent of advertised rental properties were available to pet owners in 2019.


“As an animal lover myself, I think it is unfair and cruel to deny Londoners their pets. A dog, cat or other domestic animal can dramatically improve mental health and provide companionship. If this pandemic has done one thing, it’s reinforced the benefits of keeping pets, with multiple studies showing the positive impact it has on our wellbeing” she claims.

Giving tenants the right to have a pet will also reduce the abandonment of animals, she believes. 

The candidate cites the Dogs Trust, an animal welfare charity, claiming that many owners who rent are forced to rehome pets. 

Farah London also believes that landlords often fail to recognise the benefits pets brought to not only their tenants, as well as themselves.

She says research by the RSPCA suggests that pet owning tenants stay twice as long, and that was before the surge in home working caused by the pandemic.

As part of her wider commitment to animal health and welfare, she will also set up the “Mayor’s Animal Welfare Charity Awards”, an annual event celebrating Londoners who’ve made an outstanding contribution to improving the health and welfare of animals.

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    The depths politicians will go to. Fine great.
    If you always wanted a dog Mr Tenant have one and if you didn’t well with this flat you’d think you’d have one anyway. ‘No sorry I’m not putting new carpet down’ Your increased rent is paying for the one I had to put in here last year

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    Once again, all comments levelled at landlords, with apparently no understanding that most restrictions on keeping pets stem from leasehold agreements. She'll never win the battle, because she's fighting the wrong people.

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    • 17 December 2020 09:54 AM

    Another useless and incompetent moron

  • Matthew Payne

    Love to hear the detail. Hope its better than the well behaved pet certificate plan.


    Now that WAS a funny proposal!

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    It's a health and safety issue. Some people are allergic to dogs and cats, and, however well or deep it is cleaned it is impossible to get rid of every last dog or cat hair and skin cell. When the pet owning tenant leaves, the new tenants could be allergic. Health and safety.

    And despite what loving owners like to think, dogs (and cats) do shed hairs, cause damage, and make the house smell of dog (or cat).

  • James B

    These politicians just constantly chase the tenant vote with any desperate policies they can dream up

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    No-one above recognises guide-dogs, neither does anyone recognise the real importance that pets have played for many people during the lockdown and covid-restrictions. There must be a reasonable and middle way. How about: tenancy agreement states that tenant with pet must pay for deep-clean at the end of tenancy, and damage to furniture/carpets, etc. (which inventory photos can identify). I have never heard or read of an incoming tenant with a pet allergy being affected by the pet of the previous tenant, normal clean or deep clean. Doubt if anyone else has.
    And of course David's posting above is completely unacceptable, even as a joke.


    David - firstly sorry for reporting your post when I simply meant to reply!
    I am one of those who commented above, and have a tenanted property with pets since I recognise their value. Your suggestions make sense, although landlords are often under-compensated under the TDS when it comes to damages, and have to swallow void periods on top. However, leasehold agreements, especially in flats, often have clauses limiting the type of pets occupants can keep. It's not always the LL decision, especially in London.


    Well David I am one of very few landlords in my area that will ''consider'' tenants with pets, I have in fact picked up some very good long term tenants with pets because other landlords have a blanket ban on them, it used to be that I asked for an extra deposit but as I can no longer do that it now has to be a bit extra on the rent


    Are tenants with guide dogs a large section of the population? I've never met one in 20 years of renting.

    The fees ban means LLs can no longer take a pet deposit or insist on professional cleaning - those changes made in favour of tenants have made LLs even less likely to accept pets.


    I do allow pets. I say "Clean, well behaved pets considered" and I get a lot of applicants prospective tenants begging me to let them have the property before they have even seen it.
    However, I disagree about the allergy thing. It can be a genuine issue and I have had a new tenant report allergy issues caused by a previous occupant's pet.


    Guide dogs would be a totally different prospect given their training. They are by definition much more controlled and would always be with the owner, so wouldn't suffer from abandonment anxiety. I've never heard of an assistance dog going nuts or damaging furniture/the house. I still wouldn't want them though because of hygiene.

    As to allergies - several members of my family develop both asthmatic and other allergic symptoms where dander is in carpets. It can never be removed completely. Even if the sypmtoms are mild - runny nose, tight chest, hoarseness, itchy eyes - it can make life miserable. A severe allergy sufferer would be able to tell as soon as they walked through the door for the viewing and would make an immediate decision not to take the property. They wouldn't say anything but would just walk away. Which is probably why you've never heard of it.


    Cigarette smells and pet smells are never completely erased by deep cleans.
    If the rental is furnished it's even harder to remove pet stains, cells and hair from soft furnishings and beds. Many people allow their pets on furniture and beds and wash them in the bath.
    Does a deep clean make certain the drain holes are completely hair free and what about washing machines in the property? Are they given a thorough clean and the overflow cleaned out as renters may wash dog/cat blankets and beds in them.
    Cat litter trays also stink long after being emptied.
    Outside bins? Are they hosed down and disinfected inside and out? Some are disgusting.
    I personally wash my bins out every month even though they are clean.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    She would do better campaigning to eliminate the 5 week deposit cap. ( which Wales haven't adopted )
    The Dis-joined Govt were one minute campaigning for landlords to allow pets, and the next, imposing a cap - preventing landlords from financially protecting themselves against the risk.

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    I let out a 3 bed house with large garden to a lady with a dog and even after a deep clean a later tenant reported fleas biting him and his family. The pest controller confirmed they were dog fleas. There had been a six month gap between tenants but fleas lay eggs which hatch out after some time.


    David W, NOW you can't say you've never heard of issues affecting tenants long after a dog has left - granted it might not be an allergy issue but it's still a real issue that justifies a no pets rule.

    Why do poorer people think they're entitled to everything that richer people have?

    I accept that I don't drive a Rolls Royce or have a £100 million yacht.

    Others should accept that they can't have pets in properties not belonging to them.

    BTW pet smells also affect the resale value of properties and reduce the numbers of potential buyers. Will former pet owners provide compensation for this?


    Happened to my tenants twice! How many people have carried out a viewing and got complaints of bites. Doesn’t have to be an allergy, it happens. A landlord must be allowed a choice.

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    Re David Wirth's comment: Very few properties at present allow pets so the allergy question rarely comes up. And if a tenant started to sneeze etc while looking round a property they wouldn't go on to rent it. Don't believe a deep clean (whatever that is!) would get rid of all the hairs and dander. If some landlords want to let to pet owners, absolutely fine, their choice. But don't make it compulsory for every single landlord.

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    Mr Wirth, I would not use Guide Dogs as an excuse, obviously those persons need the guide dog and the property would need to be suitable accommodation for this in the first place.
    While so many are shouting from the roof tops to force LL's to have pets we should have a definition of pets as well. I have had them all, birds, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, fish, reptiles, snakes fed with live rats, really the people on the Band Wagon are a kin to Rogue regulators who haven't got a clue what they are doing because its not their problem & don't affect them no matter how much damage they cause, not responsible for anything just like green horn Chancellor wasting billions and not accountable.

  • Kathryn Everson

    As a Dog owner and lover, who also runs a UK charity for dogs with a terminal condition, I am fully aware of the benefits of dog ownership, the bond that can be had between dog and owner and positive effect on mental well being, however, having allowed pets in my properties on all occasions it has been a nightmare. The first allowed their dogs to cause unbelievable damage, carpets were chewed through even stairs underneath the carpet were chewed along with numerous sets of architraving around doors and kitchen floor tiles. As for my pretty cottage garden, it was disgusting and a health hazzard as no excrement had been cleared up for months ( we made visits every 3 months until they stopped paying rent and refused entry) The cost involved with this damage along with other damage caused by the tenant, cost not only thousands of pounds, but months in turning it around to become a decent habitable property again. The costs of this didn't come anywhere close to the 6 weeks deposit held securely at the time. Again, second tenant who assured me their dog was a good dog (which I'm sure it was) was allowed to pee on carpets and chew edges, and the cat clawed up all the pile on the new stair carpets, again, time and money lost to make it a decent property for a new tenant. Unless there can be some sensible insurance against this sort of situation, and the onus is removed from the so called 'uncaring, selfish' landlords, along with many more unfair and unjust rules and legislation coming in (when there is an abundance already in place to protect the tenant) , then more and more people will back out of the rental market leaving an even greater housing crisis


    Excellent well balanced response.

    Daniela Provvedi

    Kathryn, what a lovely reply!
    I am one of those rare LLs who do allow pets in my properties which have a garden. However, I do not agree to having a dog or cat in a flat, sorry.
    May I PLEASE ask you to write to this lady, Farah London, and tell her what you've just told us? Not only are you a dog owner and lover, but you also run a UK charity for dogs. Your well balanced message may just strike a chord with her, and as a LL I would be most grateful if you did.
    As I said above, I do rent some of my properties to tenants with pets, however, that's my choice. I wouldn't have liked to be forced to do it. Thank you!

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    While you are all on here don't worry about the LL's mental heath.

  • girish mehta

    They will need to repeal 6 weeks deposit rule and pet owners take and compensate for landlords loss.
    If these are having mental issues than should they be having dogs??
    Clueless politician going for vote catching head lines in order to get media attention and hoping to get plush job and furthering their own political gains


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