By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


The government cannot force landlords to accept renters with pets

With many tenants being forced to get rid of their pets under current rules from their landlords, the government is planning to change the model tenancy agreement, which can be used as the basis of lease agreements made with tenants. 

The government's model tenancy contracts will be revised to remove restrictions on pets to make it easier for rentals to bring well-behaved animals into their properties. 

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick last month called on landlords to make it easier for responsible pet owners to allow animals to live in their homes. 


Jenrick said: “Pets bring a huge amount of joy and comfort to people’s lives, helping their owners through difficult times and improving their mental and physical wellbeing.

“It’s a shame thousands of animal-loving tenants and their children can’t experience this because they rent their homes instead of owning.

“So, I’m overhauling our model tenancy contract.”

But government measures calling for landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well-behaved pets in their homes could result in animal lovers falling foul of the law and landlords ending up out of pocket, according to a property litigation firm.  

Hägen Wolf says that as the contract is not mandatory, the announcement has no basis in law and landlords can refuse tenants permission for pets.

Matt Pugh, the managing partner of new property litigation firm Hägen Wolf, based in Leeds, said: "Private landlords have the right to choose who they want in their property and to accept pets or not. 

“Any moves to force landlords to take pets will only make them more likely to exit the property market thereby making the problem worse by reducing the number of suitable properties available to individuals, couples and families with pets.”

The government’s decision to cap tenant deposits at five weeks has also deterred many landlords from accepting tenants with pets, according to Pugh. 

He continued: “It [the cap of tenant deposits] has resulted in many landlords flatly refusing to accept pet-owning tenants as the amount does not cover damage caused by their animals, leading to an uncertain future for many pets. 

“Blocks of flats also often have restrictions on accepting pets, which would make any implementation of this kind of law very difficult."

Under the proposed changes it could also become harder for pet owners to find suitable accommodation, as property landlords and letting agents could previously ask for a higher deposit to cover any damage.

Pugh also points out that there are insurance policies pet owners can buy to give landlords greater peace of mind, so if the pet does cause damage, it will be put right by the tenants.

He added: “As with all residential tenancies, a fair middle ground between the needs of both landlord and tenant needs to be reached, something this announcement, while being a step in the right direction, doesn't quite do.

"Tenants need to check with their landlords if they are allowed to have pets or if this is something that would be considered in future given certain assurances. 

“Property owners need to be clear with tenants from the start on their policy on pet ownership in their properties and reach a mutual agreement which doesn't contravene the conditions of the tenancy or leave them out of pocket due to animals damaging the property.” 

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

Poll: Do you permit tenants to keep pets in your properties?


  • icon

    It is my property
    No one is going to tell me what I can or can't do.
    This government has no idea at all.
    BTL is a business and we are not treated like other businesses !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • icon

    I will consider pets but now that I am unable to charge an increased deposit it will have to be an increased rent

  • icon
    • 25 February 2020 16:19 PM

    The issue will be that new tenants will say they don't have pets.
    Then magically they arrive!
    With S21 abolishment good luck to a LL evicting a tenant using the S8 process enhanced or not with tenant pets breaching the TA.
    Effectively LL are being disempowered as far as pets are concerned.

    There isn't much a LL can cost effectively do about it.

  • icon

    Pets are money Hoovers. I thought tenants were pleading poverty and condemned to rent as they can't afford to save up the 5% deposit to buy? Tip: Ditch the dog, cast out the cat, flush away the goldfish. Also avoid pcp car contracts, costalot coffees, fancy holidays and designer clothes. Gradually the necessary deposit will accumulate.


    Wise advice, but it won't happen, we are talking the ''I'm entitled generation'' entitled to all you list and want it all NOW.

    • 26 February 2020 18:57 PM

    Ahh! Robert
    You speak with forked tongue according to the feckless snowflake generation.

    Advising them of a few realities of life will shatter their hopes and aspirations.
    You'll give them all anxiety and depression.

    Of course they could do what you very sensibly advise but then GR isn't sensible at all.

    So your totally realistic take on the situation will be derided as simply not fair.
    After all why can't they have it ALL.........NOW?
    Instant gratification is surely their birthright!!!!!!!!!!!?????

    Whoever heard of working hard; going without and saving to achieve objectives!?

    Robert you are so last century!!!

    This is now the me; me me generation and now now now!!

  • icon

    Actually it's just a health and safety issue. Some people are allergic to dogs and cats. What happens when pet owners move out and an allergic tenant moves in? A clean, however deep, won't get rid of all the substances that cause allergic reactions. We can't risk it.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up