New UK law could bypass landlord approval to have pets

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
young woman working on laptop at home,cute small dog besides. work from home, stay safe during coronavirus covid-2019 concpt
There is growing cross-party support for the bill, a second reading of which is scheduled for 29 January 2021. Photo: Getty

A new law is being considered that would allow renters to get a cat or a dog without their landlords’ approval.

The proposed law, known as the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) bill, has been put forward by Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell.

The former shadow minister for Animal Welfare is highlighting the frequently unjust way in which renters are forced to give up their beloved pets in order to move into new accommodation.

The legislation, backed by animal rights and animal welfare organisations, including the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, will prevent landlords from banning “responsible owners” from bringing pets into rented accommodation.

Recognising the concerns that landlords have, the legislation will require renters to demonstrate they are “responsible owners” with a suggested checklist including a vet’s confirmation that their pet is vaccinated, spayed/neutered, free of parasites and responsive to basic training commands in the case of dogs.

In cases where the renter can prove they are a “responsible owner,” and the accommodation is suitable for their pet, the right to take a pet into rented accommodation would be assumed.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred many into thinking about their living arrangements. People have jumped on the opportunity to get pets, as well as moving to places with gardens or closer to outdoor areas in order to rein in the benefits of working from home.

Even before the pandemic, pets were a key consideration for renters looking to move. Research carried out by Zoopla last year showed that willingness to allow pets was among the top desirable qualities, alongside space for a car and a dishwasher.

Pets were at such a premium that some landlords charged “pet rent” of up to £50-a-month to have them in the house. The levy came in as estate agents looked for way to recoup fees after the Tenant Fees Act in 2019.

The legislation is being called “Jasmine’s Law,” named after a dog which was separated from its owner, Jordan Adams, because of restrictions like these.

It will also highlight the tragic case of John Chadwick, a homeless man who ended his life after the only housing option his local council provided him with was one which meant separating from his beloved pets.

There is growing cross-party support for the bill, a second reading of which is scheduled for 29 January 2021.

Watch: What is shared ownership?