The controversy over government proposals to increase the numbers of pets in private rental properties has taken an unexpected twist.
Two measures have recently propelled the pets issue to the top of the rental agenda.
The Dogs and Domestic Animals Accommodation Protection Bill, which proposes to make it a right for tenants to have domestic animals in rental properties, is currently awaiting its second reading as it moves through Parliament.
And early this year the government announced that it had rewritten its model standard tenancy agreement to include more 'pet-friendly' elements, making it easier for tenants to be able to keep 'well-behaved' pets - although it is not mandatory for agents or landlords to use this tenancy agreement.
But now housing minister Chris Pincher has given details of how landlords can, in fact, reject pets in their rental properties - even if they are amongst the minority using the model tenancy agreement.
Answering a written question in the Commons, Pincher says: “A good reason for a landlord to decline a pet ownership request would be where a pet is demonstrably poorly behaved or unsuited for the premises in question, for example, a large dog in a small flat, or where other tenants have allergies to animals.”
He goes on to say: “The revised [model tenancy] agreement provides that a private landlord who chooses to use the agreement should accept a request from a tenant to keep pets where they are satisfied the tenant is a responsible pet owner and the pet is of a kind that is suitable in relation to the nature of the premises at which it will be kept.
“It aims to remove restrictions on responsible tenants with pets, encouraging landlords who use the agreement to offer greater flexibility in their approach to pet ownership.”
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