INTRODUCTION OF RENTERS’ REFORM BILL TO REMOVE BARRIERS TO PET OWNERSHIP FOR MILLIONS OF TENANTS
Battersea, the leading animal welfare charity behind the Pet Friendly Properties campaign, is today welcoming the introduction of the Renters’ Reform Bill to Parliament, which places long-awaited protections for tenants and their pets firmly on the Government’s legislative agenda.
The Bill, which was laid before Parliament earlier today, features a number of policies designed to increase access to pet friendly rental accommodation. As initially outlined in “A Fairer Private Rented Sector”, the Government’s White Paper on rental reform published in June last year, plans include banning landlords from enforcing blanket ‘no pets’ bans on properties, giving tenants the legal right to request a pet and introducing an insurance requirement to mitigate against any risk of pet-related damage.
Recent Battersea research revealed a marked imbalance between the UK’s aspirations of pet ownership and the availability of suitable housing. It found that whilst 76 per cent of renters either currently own or would like to own an animal companion, according to Zoopla just 7 per cent of private landlords list their properties as allowing pets.
Michael Webb, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Battersea said: “Tenants being unable to find anywhere suitable to rent with their pet is sadly one of the most common reasons people bring their animals to Battersea for rehoming. And as the rental market becomes more competitive, we can only expect it is going to get even more common.”
“Not only will the long-overdue introduction of this Bill to Parliament bring us one step closer to opening up the many joys of pet ownership to millions of renters, it could dramatically reduce the number of dogs and cats we see being needlessly separated from their owners due to widespread restrictive pet policies. Further still, it will help keep tenants in their pet-friendly homes for longer – undoubtedly the best outcome for renters, pets and landlords.”
With the Renters’ Reform Bill in place, dogs like Layla* – whose previous owner’s landlord decided to ban tenants from keeping pets in their properties and threatened her owner with eviction – could not have been given up to Battersea. The charity may also not have had to take in two elderly Chihuahuas, Harvey* and Rosco*, after their former owner’s landlord decided to sell up and they were left unable to find alternative pet friendly accommodation.
Battersea has led calls for more pet friendly rental properties in the UK since 2018, working closely with tenants, landlords, housing providers and other animal welfare groups to help devise workable solutions for all parties.
Michael continues: “As this Bill now begins its long journey through Parliament, we look forward to continuing to work with the Housing department, and both landlords and tenants to help ensure a fairer rental sector for pets and people alike.”