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Landlords will have six weeks to consider pet requests

Detailed analyses of the Renters Reform Bill has thrown up more information about how the provision promoting pets will be operated.

If the Bill becomes law it will be an implied term of every assured tenancy that a tenant will be able to keep a pet in the property if they ask for consent in writing and receive the landlord’s consent. 

Landlords will be required to fully consider all requests and must grant, or deny, permission in writing on or before the 42nd day after the date of the request. There are a small number of exceptions to this, but it is expected the vast majority of requests will have to be dealt with within this timeline. 


If the tenant believes the request has been unreasonably refused, they will be able to raise it to the Private Rented Sector Ombudsman which is to be set up as part of the Bill or through the courts.

The provisions of the Tenant Fees Act 2019 will be varied to allow a landlord, or their agent, to request pet insurance. 

Under the reforms, agents and landlords who consent to the tenant keeping a pet must inform the tenant in writing that either the tenant maintains insurance to cover the risk of pet damage to a reasonable level; or that the tenant must pay the landlord’s reasonable costs of maintaining insurance that covers the risk of pet damage.

A statement from Propertymark, the letting agents’ trade body, says: “We will continue to raise the impact of the removal of fixed term tenancies and seek to find a solution with policy makers. Furthermore, whilst amendments to the Tenant Fees Act to allow for insurance when tenants rent with pets is welcome, we’ll be making the case that it’s not simply about consent but suitability of the type of property and pets.”

Last week the Renters Reform Bill had its First Reading - merely the publication of the Bill, and used by the government and pressure groups as the opportunity to give general views on the Bill’s broad intentions.

Next month’s Second Reading - at a date to be confirmed, but likelt to be in the week beginning June 5 - will be the first opportunity for MPs to actually debate the main principles. The debate will be opened by a government minister, most likely either Housing Secretary Michael Gove or Housing Minister Rachel Maclean. 

Labour, as the official opposition, then responds to the Bill and backbench MPs from all parties are invited to give their opinions.

This Second Reading takes at least several hours and possibly more than one day, given the complexity of the Renters Reform Bill.

After the Second Reading there is then the so-called Committee Stage, when a panel of around 20 MPs - usually chaired by an MP with experience in the subject - has the power to examine the Bill clause-by-clause, including consideration of relevant amendments from MPs. 

At Committee Stage in the Commons, MPs can take oral and written evidence on the Bill. 

Then the Bill proceeds to the Report Stage, taken in the whole House of Commons and not in committee form: at this stage only amendments are discussed.

Finally, the Third Reading is another general discussion on the broad terms of the amended Bill: no additional amendments are permitted. 

The same multi-stage process then goes on in the House of Lords - with minor variations - and once the Bill has been through the Third Reading in both houses, it goes to receive Royal Assent and becomes an Act.

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    I have an apartment in Manchester which I no longer let out. However my leasehold strictly prevents me from keeping pets on the property. What then? As the lease is a legal agreement, which if breached could result in forfeiture of my leasehold.


    Clearly, you write to the tenants within the 42 day period and state this as a reason your denying them from having a pet.


    Rob. I have also had other properties where I have discovered that tenants have moved in a pet without my knowledge or permission. This mostly seems to be the norm from past experience. Similarly when you let to single mothers you often later find that a boyfriend has moved in without your knowledge or permission. A bit of a minefeild as far as I am concerned.

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    What kind of nonsense talk is this you are encouraging them to get Pets, if you have a place to rent they are likely to have the Pets already.
    So if they are coming with Pets that you don’t want you can’t rent to them, making it much harder for them to find a rental property. Why don’t the Government ask the landlords with a wealth experience and not all those clueless guys that never housed anyone….


    I'd generally agree with Michael's point, but I've had new tenants without pets. they later wanted some (not during Covid lockdowns) and asked me; but realised the tenancy agreement didn't allow pets so didn't bring any in after my refusal (a decision made after my specific research).
    After allowing dogs in a house (twice) I'm less likely to want to do so again, even though that property is suitable.


    I think the idea is you can't refuse pets unless you have a good reason. Like a lease prohibited it, or you are allergic so if managing it yourself it will cause health issues. I think that the landlord 'not wanting them' is not a ground at all.

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    What’s the process for evicting a pet ?.


    I recently had an issue with my tenants dog. He was a bull breed and broke through the fencing and attacked my dog. He had shown earlier signs of aggression and the tenants were asked to get training for him, this hadn't been done. I wrote to them withdrawing the permission for pets and gave them 30 days to sort this out. It's a clause in our tenancy agreement that permission can be withdrawn.
    The dog was sent to a specialist rescue.
    If the tenants hadn't complied then I would have started the Section 8 process

  • George Dawes

    We’ll see about that

    My property my rules

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    I don't need 6 weeks, not even 6 minutes.

    The answer's NO because I need to consider other people who may have allergies who may stay in the property in future or even come to fix things.

    Any problems and I will just put it up for sale, giving you the minimum permissible notice unless you withdraw your request for any pet.

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    Is there such a product as insurance against pet damage? If not, making having it a pre-condition to having a pet would effectively be saying no. Are the government going to force insurance companies to offer this? Or underwrite it? I very much doubt it.


    I think the policies currently available only cover accidental damage not the additional wear & tear we are concerned about. NRLA says there will be products available, but if you think of scratched doors, chewed woodwork, peed on l laminate this must be incredibly expensive to insure! And I guess, as ever, a LLs time spent fixing it will be given free!


    I can't see how pet insurance would work. How about just charging an extra pet rent to cover damage, it would be much simpler.

    Jennifer Berezai

    Several companies already offer pet damage insurance, others have been waiting on the sidelines for the bill to be introduced. We are aware of products that are being developed that should meet the needs of the landlord and the tenant.
    See our website for details of our Heads for Tails! campaign that called for this amendment to the TFA's list of permitted payments, and details of companies currently in the marketplace.

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    What does RSPCA think? Can a dog be left in a property while the owner goes to work for eight hours?


    My thoughts entirely. A dog should not be left at home if you are out at work all day & tenants pretty much should be a work!

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    Does anyone know if previously envisaged "Pet Rents" will be allowed (saving on insurance by either tenant or LLD, and the hassle of dealing with insurance companies)? Amount could be likely damage divided by expected length of tenancy (and once the target income is met, the pet rent element of total rent could be reduced).
    If they are allowed, there still might be problems when rents are raised if a tenant complains to the first tier tribunal that the increase is excessive, even if the pet element stays the same, due to total rent being higher than market rates.
    Might not be a problem if lots of landlords adopt pet rents so there would be a market rate for these.

    More regulation - more hassle.

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    I generally keep my rents below MV but anyone with a pet will get an increase to the max every year to cover any 'wear & tear'.

  • Rik Landlord

    I have a house with a big garden and could find no reason not to allow pets other than I don't want them in my property, a reason the ombudsman will refuse for sure, hence I put that property on the market last Friday.
    The government won't win this fight, there will just be nothing left to rent. Idiots.

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    John Chart comments:

    A goodly majority of PRS sector comprises flats held on long leases. Most of these forbid pets or require consent, or require the lessee to remove pets if a complaint of nuisance is lodged with the managing agents. A pet request by a tenant or proposed tenant will involve the LL in futile hassle.

    Also - even if there were a pet insurance policy on the market, I would imagine that a fair % of any damage would be swallowed up by an irrecoverable excess! This whole business is ill-thought-out! Amen.


    My understanding is the tenant will take out the policy in their name and they will have to set the excess to fit their budget, If the landlord takes out the policy then set the excess to the minimum (or agree the excess with with the tenants in writing) and then add the policy cost to the rent. any excess covered by the tenant can be claimed from the deposit since it is all agreed, also I beleive the deposit level should be increased to 6 weeks from 5.


    An extra week's deposit isn't going to make much difference to the landlord's loss in repairing the £1000's of damage which a pet can cause. Even the delay in being able to get the property fit for rent again will exceed a week.

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    • B L
    • 23 May 2023 11:22 AM

    We are famous to spend a huge amount of time to make the most simple matters into a scientific expedition. Perhaps the committee should spend another year to discuss what is the definition of a pet? Can tenants request to have snake, rat, chameleon, chicken? Thought the gov is keen to have the properties to the highest standards, now they encourage to have a zoo in the homes. Some animals carry harmful germs, spread disease and endanger the whole community in the process. Guess we miss covid again!

  • David Lester

    With current and future governments proposing to introduce some form of Tenants reform Bill I feel that a very important point is possibly going to slip under the radar. The main talking point is Section 21 and rightfully so, however some of the implications can be prevented if the Landlords business plan is correct, i.e. rent in advance, Guarantors, regular inspections etc. The point on enforcing Landlords to accept pets could be if we are not careful even more damaging and cost us all in time, money, and resources!
    Below I have brainstormed my thoughts on some of the problems with being forced to allow pets, there will be those within the industry who read the content and belittle it as they know better, however my objective is to get Landlords talking about the topic before it is too late!
    Landlords and pets.
    1. Landlords are a business not a charity, full utilisation to properties is our objective, any distraction preventing this being met is unacceptable, this includes working for nothing by searching for tradesmen, handling insurance claims, and downtime when the property is without a paying Tenant.
    2. For a landlord who does not want to allow pets, there is no foreseen benefit permitting a Tenant to have a pet in their property. There is only extra “wear and tear”, extra time organising replacement carpets etc, Tradesmen, Insurance claims, Deposit disputes, i.e., absolutely no benefits.
    3. Damage to interior of house, skirting boards, doorways, doors, requiring repairing painting etc, problems, deposit, insurance, betterment, “wear and tear”, Tenant leaves and Landlord left to resolve the problems, whilst losing money on rental and time finding tradesmen.
    4. Flees, pee, excrement etc in carpet curtains and soft furnishings, only way to completely remove would be replacement, who pays? Insurance Company, Deposit, then disputes on betterment etc.
    5. Damage to garden, lawns garden beds, this will take time and specialist trades people to repair, unacceptable presentation for new Tenants which could be used as a reason to pay reduced rent.
    6. Smell inside house, in carpets, curtains etc, where should the compensation be proportioned and who pays for the Landlords time and resources, only total replacement will resolve these problems, who pays and compensation landlord for time and losses?
    7. Clawing carpets, thereafter, dispute on “wear and tear” deposit, or Insurance claim, then the argument on proportioning betterment.
    8. Extra down time between Tenants due to insurance claim process, repairs, and cleaning, who will compensate for this time?
    9. Pet hair throughout house, normal “professional cleaning” cannot guarantee to fully remove all hair, problem, where does the Landlord seek the extra to ensure complete cleaning, the Deposit, or the Insurance and who pays for their time?
    10. Informing future Tenants that pets were housed previously, Allergies, Asthma, and other breathing aliments, reduced marketplace, reduced rental income etc.
    11. Noise nuisance to neighbours and pets using their gardens a Toilets.
    12. Insufficient insurance as purchased by Tenant, cheapness!
    13. Delay in reletting due to Insurance claim and agreeing with Assessors on cost of compensation for damage.
    14. Loss of rental income, interest etc waiting for payment from any insurer and who pays the difference.
    15. Time finding Tradesmen tot carryout rectification work, who pays?
    16. Pets being left in house, alone all-day uncontrolled damage.
    17. Deposit is not sufficient to cover potential damage, loss recovery and to compensate for time to seek, research and organise replacement goods, Tradesmen to repair, fit or install.
    18. How is it possible to the Tenant to insure something they do not own?
    19. Who sets the level of cover for the insurance policy, Government. Shelter, Landlords and who is the arbiter on such cover?
    20. Pet Insurance which is paid for by Tenant will be the cheapest possible and will not fully indemnify the Landlord.
    21. Insurance practices by nature of their business will make all endeavours to mitigate their losses, therefore in a claim situation they will require multiple quotes, examine damage, and then decide price for compensation. This price will usually be less than the cost to fully indemnify the Landlord and will not include compensation for time spent finding Tradesmen, shopping etc and loss of rental income.
    22. A further major problem is the “grey area” between claiming on either the Deposit or the Insurance.
    23. If Landlord is not fully indemnified, can they take the Tenant to court?
    24. If a Tenant signs a contract which states no pets, is it not a breach of contract for them to house a pet? If this is the case then the entire contract is null and void
    25. What are the punitive penalties that can be bestowed onto a landlord?
    26. If the Government whatever colour wants to house pets, why don’t they buy their own properties?
    27. If Landlords had an association that would represent the majority and be a force to be reckoned with, as Shelter is to the Tenants, we would be able to shape current and future legislation.
    Unless we as Landlords can be 100% guaranteed that we will suffer no financial losses or wasted time we should not permit pets in our properties.

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    Pet insurance premium + excess means no cover….
    Insurance Companies are not in Business to loose money.

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    I think you will find pet insurance does not cover wear and tear like scratching doors. I can see the insurance companies wriggling out of claims.

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    Pet insurance won't be worth the paper it's written on. There will be a lot of burden of proof to prove the damage wasn't there before. These companies will need to charge more than they pay out obviously. So it's all going to be expensive. Tenant may be able to prove they bought it BEFORE they moved in. But once in they can cancel it or stop paying the 2nd year.

    It's all one big joke.

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    It is like the one sided Assured Tenancy it won’t be the paper it’s written on, because over ruled by Statute.
    Landlords expected to do regular inspections who controls the dog I have been bitten before now.

  • Matthew Payne

    This is a storm in a tea cup, there are so many justifyable reasons to reject a pet, whether working tenants, wooden floors, leases, neighbours. What will be interesting to see though is how the ombudsman deals with complaints and especially with ones related to failings in the Tenant Fees Act. Eg: "the property is carpeted, and as legislation forbids you from being committed by anyone to cleaning or fumigating the carpets when you leave, which I am not prepared to pay for, therefore I cannot permit you to have a pet without that contractual obligation in place."


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