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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Landlords Must Take Pets - government announcement likely

What looks suspiciously like a government leak to the Daily Mail says the long-awaited Rental Reform White Paper will be unveiled tomorrow.

The Mail says it will contain a raft of radical measures including: 

- tenants to have the legal right to have pets in their properties with landlords having limited powers to refuse;

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- tenants to have the power to appeal against landlord or agent refusal on keeping pets; 

- tenants may be expected to get appropriate pet-damage insurance;

- as expected, the Decent Homes Standard (currently applied only to social housing) will be extended to the private rental sector;

- Section 21 eviction powers for landlords and their representatives will be scrapped;

- Section 8 eviction powers will also be revised.

There is no mention in the Mail of the landlord register concept, nor of mandatory redress through an existing or new scheme - both of these ideas have been floated by the government in recent weeks.

 

Few other details are given in the Mail story but an unnamed government source is quoted in the paper as saying: “Not only will our new deal for renters extend the decent homes standard to the private rented sector... we’ll also give tenants a legal right to have a pet if they wish. 

“Would-be pet owners are being unfairly deprived of the company and companionship of an animal by their landlords – so we’ll change the law to end this unfairness.”

Even if the White Paper - originally pledged in 2019 - is indeed introduced tomorrow, it is likely that a mix of consultation periods and having to progress through both Houses of Parliament will mean that at least some of the changes may take well over a year to come into effect.

The Mail article is here.

Perhaps predictably, the pets idea has already drawn criticism from a prominent spokesperson for the Generation Rent activist group. 

Deputy director Dan Wilson Craw said on Twitter that the idea of tenants getting insurance to cover pet damage “is a bit ridiculous” because “that’s what the deposit is there for.”

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.

  • Algarve  Investor

    Wow, they're really chasing the tenant vote aren't they? Seems a bit mad, as most young people are never going to vote Tory and really don't like Boris.

    He just risks alienating the private rented sector. There doesn't seem anything here for landlords to cling to.

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    Presumably you’re Algarve-based? I’m currently here seeking my way out of the industry and the madness that is the UK…would you happen to have any tips on where to locate myself, please?

     
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    I will consider renting to a tenant with a pet but only in a property with a suitable garden, only one pet, no large or dangerous dogs and I want an increased rent

  • George Dawes

    As long as they pay towards damage no problem or money up front , otherwise it’s my property and supposedly a free country but the way things are going I’m not too sure

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    At this rate I think landlords will be expected to pay the tenant's rent as well!

     
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    No Pets is one of the covenants in the head lease of the apartment blocks that I have apartments in.
    I don't know whether this can be unraveled by a new law. interesting times ahead...

    Matthew Payne

    It wont be Ken, it would be unworkable in blocks of flats, and FHs up and down the land would take HMG to Court.

     
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    I have the same, so that’s me out of the equation, added to the fact that all my properties exclude HB, refugees and asylum seekers in my mortgage terms. That said, I’ll always consider pets in my garden flats.

     
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    As long as the tenant takes time off work to allow maintenance access as my tradesmen will not go into properties where pets are present without owners there
    Dogs can attack them and cats sneak out as they get tooks out of vans etc
    Also dogs shut in small properties 24/7 increase condensation

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    Also definitely no pets if any sort in an HMO i will sell mine if they insist

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    only once have we let a tenant have a 'pet' - turned out to be an alsatian which chewed up the kitchen floor lino,and tenants went ape when we kept the deposit to sort it all out - never,ever,again

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    • N P
    • 15 June 2022 11:42 AM

    As a landlord of shared housing, I will not be accepting pets, I have to take into consideration the needs of my other tenants in the property, some may be allergic, have phobias, or simply not like pets. Not to mention some can be noisy like dogs. I’m not about to reduce my market to accommodate the minority. However, I would take pets on for single occupancy properties if the tenant has appropriate insurance, I have before.

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    Its also about how barking dogs ruin the environment and health of all the neighbours. So many people cannot train a dog not to bark and some leave dogs alone which can bark whine and howl for hours if we cant evict tenants soon how will we deal with the complaints of really unhappy neighbours?

    Matthew Payne

    That will be a justifiable reason for declining in the first place.

     
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    The gas Engineer will often refuse to enter when a dog is present, he’s off and difficult to get them to come in the first place, clearly those rule makers don’t know the business.

  • Matthew Payne

    All it says is, they are going to ban a blanket pet ban, LLs just will need to give a sensible, justifiable reason for a no, albeit, when marketing a property the "no" is often, "the landlord has accepted an offer from another tenant" and the specifics are never discussed.

    Absolutely nothing will change, and directly rejecting a request for a large pet will be simple, just propose an undesirable increase in the rent, or there will be enough other reasons. You wont allow a dog to be left alone for more than 2 hours alone for example. (this is in a lease I saw recently. It is perfectly justfied to demand dogs are not left alone for long periods of time, so this restricts dog ownership to people who are retired or WFH 100%) It will be interesting to read the detail, but I also still see it will be reasonable for a LL to reject based on inevitable pet dilaps with no allowed remedy. "Yes you have pet insurance for damage Mr Tenant, but who is going to pay to replace my scratched laminate floor, clean/replace the soiled/worn carpets, the redecoration, fumigate for fleas, replace the lawn, none of which will be covered by your insurance, so thats why my answer is a no".

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    We live in a world where tenants can get away with not paying rent for long periods, and in many cases just walk away (disappear), trashing a property, not paying bills ...etc etc etc....
    Essentially western politics is 'bent' and governed by the chasing of votes, no matter what the consequences..... even giving the unruly cart blanche to sh1t on decent law abiding people.
    Eventually the whole country (and western society) is going to completely fall off this slippery slope.

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    There's me thinking that I can decide who or what rents my house. Silly, silly idea. I need to be told by the government obviously

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    I have some properties where I allow pets and some where it would be completely inappropriate. In suitable self contained accommodation well behaved pets with responsible owners can be OK. Insurance against pet damage would help as in no way does a deposit of only 5 weeks rent come anywhere close to repairing the damage some pets can cause.

    In shared houses, HMOs or leasehold apartment blocks it could be cruel to the pets, the housemates and the neighbours.
    We allowed an emotional support rabbit in one of our smaller shared houses and it was horrendous for the housemates. It's owner was often too depressed to feed it or clean up after it. The housemates hated the smell and mess and reluctantly fed it because it would have starved if left to its owner to deal with. It was completely unfair to the animal and the housemates and was clearly a responsibility it's owner couldn't cope with.
    Another problem we encountered was a neighbouring terraced house had a supposedly well behaved dog. It was fine while it's owners were at home but howled and barked relentlessly all day while they were at work.

    Before imposing stupid policies politicians need to have a very good look at the housing real people live in. Unlike politicians a great many tenants don't have a nice detached house with a big garden and plenty of distance from the nearest neighbour. Respect and consideration for neighbours should carry more importance than someone's desire to keep an animal in unsuitable accommodation.

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    It should be left as it is between Tenant & Owner to agree or not, why can’t they stop poking their noses in none of their business, they have no in put only to meddle and ruin. We can say what we like but who’s listening, no point in saying not to leave dog unattended for more than 2 hours, we have no means of enforcing it and excluded from the property, blank strangers, Tenants mates, sublets, over crowders all now given rights over Landlords property.

  • Rik Fergusson

    I have flats where pets are forbidden in the lease.
    I also have HMOs where I have to consider allergies of other tenants.
    So pets will still get a "no" from me unless the government was to come up with a free all singing all dancing allergy cure and take my freeholders to court to fight the 'no pets' lease ruling.

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    If I don't want pets, I don't need a blanket ban I just choose pet free tenants. All these changes mean there will be plenty of applicants every time I have a property available.

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    But what if you get a pet free tenant then they get one later?

     
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    I am an Animal lover, but from my experience most Tenants treat their Dogs dreadfully. I have reported Tenants on 2 occasions for locking Dogs in cages all Day whilst they were at work.
    So the Government are just encouraging Animal cruelty.
    Tenants and the stupid Government have to realise and accept a rented Property belongs to someone else and should respect their letting conditions.

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    The same problem still remains. If the tenants larger deposit to cover a pet is lodged with an approved scheme, they just don’t pay the last months rent?

    Riddle me this Batman, “what’s the Governments solution for that one”?

  • Matthew Payne

    Tenant selection is critical to all the points above, the interview, the body language, the backstory, the cut of their jib, and that shouldnt be a problem for some time to come, with the PRS a couple of million units short there will always be an alpha tenant for every property. The key is to meet these tenants yourself before you commit, even if you use an agent (or should I say especially?)

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    • S S
    • 15 June 2022 20:21 PM

    If you use an agent - choose a good agent - that means that as a LL you may pay a reasonable charge and you will get an agent who treats the property as it it were their own. Choose a corporate, an unqualified, a cheap or an "online" agent you'll most likely get the service you pay for.
    Good agents are an asset to a LL - and if your agent is not an asset then find and pay for a professional service.

     
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    Just another assault on us all and will lead to the demise of the PRS along with all the other legislation to come, a lot of commentators have spoke about only taking well behaved animals and responsible owners…. How exactly can you determine that on day one ? Chances are you have never even seen said beast. It’s just another landlord attack, they are coming quick and fast now, I feel like Rocky Balboa who has just entered the ring with Clubber Lang 🤕… for the first time !

  • David Ray Billing Better

    This is an interesting article, with a wide range of individuals expressing their concerns, and rightly so.

    For me, I'm taking a broad viewpoint and reading the comments Matthew Payne made above, makes a lot of sense to me.

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    I have a tiny studio flat in a block. I had a tenant and on our regular inspection we found several rabbits. There was a no pets policy in the contract. Luckily the tenant moved out quickly and paid for a thorough clean. Could have been far worse.

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    IMO a dog should not be left at home alone all day and as I only let to working tenants that is an impossible ask.

    Similarly cats should have access to the outdoors - I have no cat flaps in my properties.

    Any tenant who has a pet will get a significant rent increase.

    Job done 😀

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    "Similarly cats should have access to the outdoors - I have no cat flaps in my properties."

    Put cat flaps in your properties so that cats can go out. I agree with you on the dogs matter. People should not leave dogs alone all day. Dogs need company.
    The saying goes that dogs have masters, cats have staff.

     
  • Franklin I

    If property prices were to rise significantly today or within the next year by a minimum of 25%, most LL's would look at this as a get out of jail free card.

    The government continues to make the BTL less attractive for professional LL's each year.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    If this ever becomes legislation, starting rents will increase by £ 100 per month, with a reduction of £100 per month whilst the Tenant complies with the Tenancy agreement stating they have no pets.
    For those presenting with a pet, its gonna cost them another £ 100 per month in rent.
    Rent has to factor in wear and tear and pay for such, which will increase due to the risk from pets.

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    This is pulling rubbish numbers out of the air. How can you justify £1,200 a year extra because your tenant has a dog? As an engineer, I have indemnity insurance which costs me £700 a year. As a landlord, you have to tidy up your property when new tenants move in. That is the cost of doing business. If you will stop making these needy and vexatious demands, the legislation might give people in the landlord community more space.

     
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    The difference being that you pay your indemnity insurance. And you try your best not to need it. Tenants will not pay if it’s left to them, feel it’s a perfectly acceptable ‘cleaning policy’ to make thorough use of, and the LL is left trying to convince the insurer to pay out. £1,200pa seems perfectly reasonable. Try asking what some of societies poorest tenants pay for their latest designer breeds…£4k is nowhere near out of the question.

     
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    Poisonous viper, some engineer you are. Have you seen the damage a dog can make. Further l have been bitten by two tenants dogs whose owners owners moved them in unallowed. Press reports are that the OMs wife's dog urinates willy nilly damaging antique furniture and soiling visitors clothes.

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