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Paws for thought: ‘no pet’ clauses contributing to loneliness

Two-thirds of private renters who would like to own a pet are being forced to delay by restrictive tenancy agreements, and this is contributing to the UK’s loneliness epidemic, according to new research by YouGov and Mars Petcare. 

The study found that private renters believe owning a pet would improve their lives, with four in five - 82% - of those who wish to own a pet of the opinion that it would benefit their mental well-being. 

Meanwhile, 75% said it would benefit their physical health and 76% said it would make them feel less lonely. 61% of women said it would make them feel safer in their homes.


In addition, one in ten private renters surveyed said they had moved or given up a pet because of their pet being unwelcome. 

The findings of the research suggest that some landlords are missing out on an additional pool of tenants. 

Just 43% of private renters surveyed said their landlord offered a pet-friendly rental policy, while just over half of residendents - 53% - said they would be likely to consider a longer tenancy if their landlord allowed pets.

Some 10% of private renters said they had moved home or given up a pet as a result of restrictive tenancy agreements.

The Tenant Fees Act introduced in June 2019 has seen some pet owners paying increasingly high rents as landlords are banned from requesting pet-specific deposits. Yet, just 22% of private renters said they would welcome paying a higher rent to own a pet, with 53% instead favouring a pet-specific deposit on top of their regular deposit, while half - 50% - of those surveyed would be happy to pay for additional cleaning services. 

Mars Petcare is now calling on the government to do more to guarantee the rights of private renters to own pets so that more people are able to reap the benefits.

Helen Warren-Piper, general manager at Mars Petcare UK, commented: “At Mars Petcare we have always known that pets make the world a better place, which is why we have made it our mission to create a world where they are healthy, happy, and welcome. 

“Our recent survey shows that many private renters would love to own a pet, but are unable to because of unfavourable tenancy laws.  

“We therefore believe that changing the rights of private tenants with respect to pet ownership, is an important step to creating that world. That’s why we are calling on the UK government to work with landlords and tenants to find an improved way forward so that more people are able to enjoy the benefits of responsible pet ownership.”

Georgie Laming, campaigns manager at Generation Rent, said: "Pets are a large part of making a house a home and whatever your tenure you should be able to keep a pet. Tenants with pets are more likely to want a stable, long term home, which benefits landlords in the long run. Whilst we welcome the Secretary of State's commitment to updating the model tenancy agreement to make renting fairer for pet owners it's clear that further measures are needed to guarantee the rights of renters to own pets."

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  • jeremy clarke

    So, where were all these organisations when we as letting agents predicted this and pleaded with government not to restrict tenant deposits?
    Yet again a knee jerk vote grabbing bid is proven pointless and, along with other draconian measures aimed at the PRS should be reversed without delay by government.

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    But who's the ultimate looser in all this? the tenant, higher rents and even fewer landlords that will consider pets, or benefit claimants, shot in foot comes to mind.

  • Matthew Payne

    Interesting that over 50% of tenants would favour paying a larger deposit and committing to addtional end of tenancy cleaning. Not even tenants like the Tenant Fees Act, so who was the government thinking they were supporting when they passed this bit of legislation?

  • Fed Up Landlord

    Short term political gain for long term tenant pain. Generation Rent - you kept banging the drum about tenant fees. Now there are none. And so you now whinge about the increased rent for pets. Somebody has to pay for the extra cleaning and dilapidations that pets cause. And I'm afraid it's not the landlord or the agent.

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    Tenants say they will pay a larger deposit but they just wont pay the last months rent. Landlords will, as usual, need to cover the cost of tenant/pet remedial work. Pardon the pun but.."the tails wagging the dog here"!

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    So if Helen Warren-Piper wants Pets in her House that's fine its up to her but don't go imposing your views on us its none of your business. I have suffered too much because of pets & don't think its only Birds, Cats or Dogs, they had Hamsters, Rats, Reptiles of every kind ever known, huge problems for me Safety, Health of others in same Building and themselves if they want animals we have Zoos. Don't worry about Landlords Physical and Mental Health, all the crap that's being thrown at us from all directions, who cares about us if we are sick or lonely we are the Fall Guys considered insignificant.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Moral of the story regarding Tenants Fee Ban, is be careful what you wish for, and, Don't meddle in Private business.
    That the Government couldn't foresee this is staggering testament to their lack of understanding in what their doing with the PRS

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    Perhaps Shelter will act as Guarantor for tenants who want to keep pets instead of saving towards the 5% deposit needed to become an owner occupier?
    Perhaps Shelter will do something - anything - helpful for tenants?
    Perhaps I'll win £150 millions on the Eurolottery? More likely and I don't even buy its tickets!

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    • 05 March 2020 00:43 AM

    Deposit changes should be reversed.
    Indeed Govt should introduce a 2 months of rent as maximum deposit amount.
    The reason for this as Govt and EVERY LL should know that having more than 2 months rent at the outset of a tenancy produces a Premium Tenancy and NO sane LL would want an AST converted to a Premium Tenancy.
    I would NEVER take more than 2 month's rent.
    It seems many don't understand what a Premium Tenancy can do to a LL.
    Having a maximum 2 month's rent as deposit would give LL the opportunity to take on pets and would prevent them inadvertently creating a Premium Tenancy.

    A LL could take 6 months rent in advance providing the AST stated rent due in full for one payment every 6 months.
    Add 2 month's rent as a deposit which might include within it a pet deposit and you have a near perfect solution though I would prefer a max deposit of 2 months rent with a separate pet deposit of no more than £500.

    If the tenant complies with their AST contractual conditions and their pets do then they should receive all deposit amounts when they vacate.
    Many LL would accept 5 weeks deposit plus a specific pet deposit.

    This would prevent many pets from having to be killed because LL are NOT prepared to risk them without suitable pet deposits.

    This is a great shame because pets can be an anchor to keep a tenant due to the inability to source other LL prepared to take them on.

    But no way will LL risk this without at least some sort of decent amount as a pet deposit.

    Perhaps pet insurance should be more viable though any insurance obtained by a tenant cannot be guaranteed to be purchased annually..
    In that event what should the LL then do!?

    All very difficult and it is the poor pets that end up suffering sometime terminally.
    All this as a result of a bonkers anti-PRS ideology by the Tory Govt.

    But LL and tenants should realise by now that the warped Govt will continue with ridiculous PRS policies which negatively impact on all participants.
    Expect nothing to change or rather get worse!!


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