More than 50 MPs and peers came together at a Westminster event hosted by the UK’s leading cat and dog charities to discuss new pet-friendly rental laws.
After years of campaigning, Cats Protection and Dogs Trust have both welcomed the proposed Renters’ (Reform) Bill. According to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, renters will be given the legal right to request a pet in their home, which the landlord must consider and cannot unreasonably refuse. Landlords will also be able to require pet insurance to cover any damage to their property.
Held at the House of Commons on 7 June and sponsored by Kim Leadbeater MP, the event was a chance for politicians to find out from the two charities about the importance of modernising the private rented sector when it comes to allowing pet ownership.
Sponsor Kim Leadbeater MP said: “It was a privilege to welcome Dogs Trust and Cats Protection to Parliament to share their pet friendly housing work. The new Renters (Reform) Bill contains much-needed measures to give renters the joy of experiencing pet ownership, and it was great to have so many parliamentary colleagues attend the event and share their support for this campaign.”
Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy & Government Relations Madison Rogers said: “For too long, renters have been denied the chance to own a pet cat simply because they rent rather than own their home. These new proposals will finally give renters the chance to experience the comfort, joy and companionship that comes with owning a cat, along with the security of knowing they can feel settled in their rented home.
“We were pleased to join up with our friends at Dogs Trust to highlight to politicians why these new proposals are so important to millions of people. We are looking forward to continuing to work with the Government to ensure the proposals give more renters the chance to finally own a pet in way that is fair and affordable for all.”
James Hickman, Head of Outreach Projects at Dogs Trust said: “For years, we have helped pet owners find a home in the private rented sector, but sadly we still receive thousands of calls from desperate dog owners forced to hand them over because of issues with accommodation. We are thrilled to see such wide-spread backing for Dogs Trust and Cats Protection’s work advocating for a more pet-welcoming private rented sector and hope the new Bill will help keep pets and their owners together where they belong.”
The event comes after Dogs Trust reported a record number of enquiries from people being forced to rehome their dogs as they struggle to meet their needs as the cost of living continues to rise. Around one in ten of those owners calling Dogs Trust charity cite issues with housing as the reason for needing to rehome their dog. This includes people being forced to move or downsize as rental prices increase, but are unable to find suitable, affordable pet-friendly properties.
Meanwhile, Cats Protection says that last year it took in around 1,300 cats – the equivalent of at least three cats each day – due to landlords not allowing them in their properties, making it the eighth most-cited reason as to why cats are given up to the charity.
Both charities will continue to work with the government to ensure the details of the proposals benefit both renters and landlords in a way which is fair and reasonable.