OpenRent Community

Bill proposed to ban pet bans

MP, Andrew Rosindell wants to force landlords to take pets:

Personally, I think this is just another assault on the PR sector. I am urging landlords to write to their MP or Rosindell to oppose any future bill, or at least inform the discussion. Whilst it is in its early stages it does have cross party support, and given current direction of travel with the myriad of anti-landlord legislation, it’s not unrealistic to believe this will also come into force sooner rather than later. I’ve included my submission to Mr Rosindell below. (though I do agree it’s not the most diplomatic email but I hope it demonstrates the utter frustration at being a constant target)

Dear Mr. Rosindell,

Further to your bill to force landlords to accept pets, I would like to ask you some questions and make some points. In your speech to The House you suggested bans were “unnecessary”. To suggest bans are unnecessary, in my view, fails to understand the issues and considerations we must make as landlords. As such, I do hope you take the time to read this.

I am a professional landlord with both houses and flats. Whilst I do consider pets in houses on a case-by-case basis, I also have a number of apartments including a block of 8 flats comprising mostly 1-bed and 2-bed flats where pets are banned. My banning of pets is not discrimination, as you suggest, but a discernment based upon a risk assessment and other mitigating factors. My concern with your bill is it will be too broad and fail to account for the myriad situations where pet ownership is not appropriate or poses a high-risk of financial loss, notwithstanding the increased potential for neighbour disputes. My chief concerns are:

  • In your speech you suggested pets had to be “appropriate to their accommodation”. Who decides what is appropriate? In my situation, the block of apartments would not be suitable for dogs, cats or other larger animals. Firstly because of potential noise issues, but also there is no outside space and the carpeted common areas within the block would need additional cleaning at further cost. in addition, I need to consider other residents’ possible allergies. In my view, I am the only one who can determine appropriateness of pet ownership within the block, so any legislation must allow for an assessment of suitability with bans allowed by landlords where they can reasonably be justified.

  • I would also be concerned a vet review and certificate of the pet would not be sufficient to uncover potential issues. Most dogs bark or whine when they are left alone. Without a home visit and review of the pet in situ under different conditions it would not be possible to reasonably deduce a pet’s behavior profile. Further, would the vet also be liable for any issues, given they have certified the pet?

  • With the likely ban of section 21 evictions it will be even more difficult to remove problem tenants and at an increased cost. Will your bill allow for a quick eviction process in the event of a problem pet?

  • A tenant’s liability is, realistically, limited to the extent of their deposit with recent legislation limiting the deposit to 5 weeks. Irrespective of how many good pet owners exist, sooner or later there will be a problem pet/tenant. Allowing pets absolutely increases the risk of financial loss. What measures would be included in your bill to allow landlords to mitigate this increased risk?

As a professional landlord, I am getting rather tired of this constant barrage of anti-landlord legislation. This is yet another example where the interests of the tenant trump those of the landlord. The irony is, all this recent legislation (harder to remove tenants, can’t take a pet bond, no fees, no no DSS etc etc) means landlords face bigger hurdles and risks if things go wrong. Consequently, we are more discerning and less likely to take a chance. So, we do not discriminate, we make informed business decisions based upon risk. Your bill increases the risk, which you appear to fail to acknowledge.

In my situation, your bill is just another reason why the PR sector is becoming unviable. It would cause too many issues, potentially cost me money and give a whole lot more trouble. Like many landlords, it is getting to the stage where it is just not worth the effort and I would look to sell. In my case, the block of flats would be repurposed and I would be forced to evict my tenants, and I would be very clear to them the reasons why. As a Troy voter I think, along with how landlords have been thrown under the bus with regard to the Covid eviction bans, you no longer represent my interest as an entrepreneur and are clearly pushing your own private agenda and, along with the rest of Government, siding with tenants because there is no advantage to siding with landlords. Though, I do hope I am wrong and your bill sensibly balances the interest of both landlords and tenants.

Regards,

2 Likes

He wont force me I just will not take pets

But you can’t stipulate in your agreement no pets, so nothing stopping existing tenants introducing one!

You can stipulate it now > If I visit their present address or smell a pet , no chance I dont have to say why .just . you are not suitable

Ok, so hotels and holiday apartments that ban pets? Plenty of places that even don’t accept children to stay on holiday. Any problem?..no, people just go and book a pet/child friendly place to stay. They can do just the same with renting!! Choose somewhere to live that accepts pets. They’ve been doing it for years.
The article is a bit of a ‘feel sorry for the animals’ story - they aren’t being turfed out. It’s a different situation for someone who decides to get a pet after moving in - against the clause.

My lease is 900 odd years old - no pets clause included. I mean it’s common sense to look for somewhere that suits your circumstances.

2 Likes

Tracy 8 good example that no children on holiday places

See Mr. Rosindall’ response. Clearly, he’s made his mind up.

Dear Martin

Thank you very much for contacting me, regarding my bill on pets in rented accommodation.

I appreciate the concerns that many landlords have about pets, which I have tried to address in the bill.

I am sure you understand that not every eventuality can be covered and everyone satisfied, but I do think that the current system is too heavily tilted against pet owners, and I am trying to shift that towards a more fair balance.

I am not seeking to make an “anti-landlord” bill, but rather develop a fair system that does not side with either tenants or landlords, but works for everyone.

I know that you are writing to me without having seen the final bill, so you are not aware of the exact measures which I intend to include in the bill to address your concerns, although I did try to cover some in my (time-limited) speech to the house.

Once the bill is published, it will not put forward an unconditional right to keep a pet, but requires various checks to ensure that pet owners are responsible and that pets are well-trained.

It also will include measures to ensure that pets are suitable for the type of accommodation.

In terms of a pet being appropriate for a property, that would be something that would be agreed with a vet, who would determine whether it is in a pet’s best interests to live in that property, at the same time as they check that the pet is fit for rented accommodation. That could involve a visit to the accommodation if the landlord raises concerns.

Landlords could of course stipulate that they cannot have pets in properties because of religious or health reasons.

I hope that this will address some of the concerns that you and other landlords have raised.

I agree with you that some apartments, especially those with no outdoor space, will not be suitable for dogs or larger animals, and it would not be right to house them in places that would be bad for their welfare.

But I do not think we should ban pet owners because of ‘potential’ issues around noise – most dogs do not make noise, and landlords are not allowed to have unconditional bans on babies or small children, which are just as liable to have noise issues.

I am currently in the process of drafting the final bill, which I believe will address many of the other issues that you raised.

I am in contact with the National Residential Landlords Associations, as well as other landlords to discuss their concerns and the concerns that you have raised, and will do everything I can to ensure they are addressed.

I think you will find that while surveys have shown that while many landlords have concerns about pets, they also show that those who do take pets find that in almost all cases those concerns are completely unjustified.

Many in fact find that pet owning tenants are more responsible and mature than many of the previous tenants who they may have had issues with. Most pet owners are not likely to pose any more challenges to landlords than other tenants.

I would encourage all landlords to reconsider their policy on tenants having pets in rented accommodation, as I think many of their misconceptions about pets and pet owners would be proved wrong.

While I understand your concerns, I do believe that we must put an end to these unconditional “no pet” clauses which have caused such pain and heartache to so many people.

With every good wish.

Yours sincerely

1 Like

Lol to " vet…who would determine whether it is in a pet’s best interests to live in that property, at the same time as they check that the pet is fit for rented accommodation." Can’t see vets making visits to potential rentals.

This is a bit of an outlandish: " Many in fact find pet owning tenants are more responsible and mature than many of the previous tenants who they may have had issues with." Judgemental bias much ?

Pain and heartache to how many… I’d like to know how wide the issue as as I’m pretty sure the majority of owners are interested in staying in pet friendly and accommodating places where there’s no issues.

Hang on - what about old people’s homes? They pay a fortune in fees to stay there - why can’t their beloved pets stay with them too too? The heartache that causes. Ah yes…lets list the reasons…

Can’t see anything really changing tbh :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Pets can cause lots of internal damage, scratch woodwork and walls, leave smells, fluff and hair everywhere, you might also get a flea or similar problem. A garden may be left like a toilet when they leave, You could lose an incoming tenant because of smells, and have an unanticipated void while you recify/redecorate. Will your tenants deposit be enough if things go wrong? You may have do decided between a tenant with a pet moving in now, or be prepared to lose rent whilst waiting for a tenant without a pet. whatever you decide make sure your AST is clear, some tenants ideas of what constitutes a pet may surprise you.

1 Like

Here is my response to Andrew Risindell’s response:

Dear Mr. Rosindell.

Thank you for your response. I also noted your further response to the NRLA in relation to this bill. Given your statements to date I am concerned you underestimate the complexity of the issues that may arise if your bill is not carefully considered. It is my firm view these complexities will make such a bill unviable or at least limited in its scope. My chief concern surrounds apartment blocks, particularly those with enclosed common areas. Issues I foresee include:

The majority of freeholders stipulate a no pet clause in the owners’ leasehold agreements. How would a landlord with a leasehold flat comply if their agreement does not permit pets? Presumably, you would need to include in your bill a legal requirement for freeholders to amend lease agreements with the leaseholders (owners) in order for leaseholders to comply with their obligations as landlords. In such an event this would impose upon other private flat owners in the block and force them to accommodate pets in shared spaces. I can imagine potential legal challenges, since those purchasing their property would have done so in consideration of a no pet clause.

My other concern is liability. Presumably, pet owners would be required to provide PL insurance in case of injury or damage to property caused by their pet in shared spaces within the block. This raises a number of concerns; what is the extent of landlords’ liability in the event an uninsured tenant’s pet causes damage or 3rd party injury? Would it be incumbent upon the landlord to ensure the tenant has PL insurance at the outset and maintains cover throughout the duration of their tenancy; which will require the additional burden of annual checks? And what happens in the event the tenant allows their cover to lapse, can the landlord evict them?

Further, since, according to your scheme, vets would certify a pet as suitable; would the vet be liable in the event a certified pet caused damage or 3rd party injury? If the vet is not liable for a pet’s behavior, there is no guarantee of complete due diligence potentially leading to a conveyor-belt approach to vet certification and subsequent issues with behavior.

You suggested the vet would determine the suitability of the property, however, there are other considerations a vet could not determine, particularly other residents’ attitudes or, more importantly, health issues. Given 30% of the population suffer from pet allergies, for blocks with enclosed shared spaces, how would your bill make allowances for residents with pet allergies? Further, how would you make allowances for other residents with pet phobias (my wife is scared of cats and my son is intimidated by certain dogs). It would not be reasonable to intrude on other residents and question their health issues and attitude towards pets, and you cannot assume they will be fine, in which case the default position must be no pets in order to mitigate any risk. NB: even if other residents are accepting, a pet in situ limits future tenants to those who are willing or able to share shared spaces with pets, which arguably discriminates against potential tenants with conditions such as asthma caused by reaction to pet hair.

Pet hair can cause Anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death, and it would be irresponsible for your bill not to consider the impact of an animal having access to enclosed shared spaces within apartment blocks. My concern is, not only for the wellbeing of other tenants, but I also have a duty to all tenants for their enjoyment of their property without nuisance, not to mention the extent of my liability as the landlord and owner of a block of flats.

The principal tenet of your bill centres around the “pain and heartache” caused when an owner must give up their pet in order to secure rented accommodation. In which case, I assume your bill would only extend to new tenancies and would not give the right for an existing tenant to introduce a pet, since the basis of your bill does not apply.

Finally, I struggle to see how this would work in practice. When a property is advertised the agent or landlord will receive applications. In the case of multiple applications, a landlord will choose a tenant who can pay a holding deposit and commit to a tenancy immediately. I would not offer the tenancy to a pet owner pending the outcome of some future vet assessment and risk losing other applicants and, potentially, increasing my void period in the event a pet is deemed inappropriate. So, any discrimination would be based upon the ability of the applicant to commit.

In my previous correspondence I detailed my concerns vis-a-vis the increased financial risk and mitigation of the increased risk associated with a problem pet, so I will not raise them on this occasion, however, overall, I think there are too many issues and hurdles to overcome in allowing pets in apartment blocks, particularly those with enclosed shared spaces. As such, any bill must be restricted to those properties with a separate private entrance and outside space.

For the record, I am a dog owner and I rent. Out of respect for others I would not insist my right to accommodate my dog in any way whatsoever imposed upon my neighbour, as such, the property I rent is a detached house and appropriate for my dog. If your bill imposes on landlords or, in particular, neighbours of tenants with pets then, in my view, it fails.

I thank you for your time.

Regards,

Please note: Copy sent to NRLA.

2 Likes

Many leases have covenants set by the freeholders that forbid keeping pets.
How will legislation get round this?

I mentioned this issue in my response, and I can imagine uproar. Many owners would have purchased their properties on the understanding pets were not allowed. It’s one thing forcing a landlord to accept pets, but it’s entirely another matter to force home owners to accept pets into their apartment blocks. Given most blocks contain such covenants this bill seems to be dead in the water, or have to be limited in scope.

2 Likes

We did not accept pets because the 5 week deposits would not cover potential damages by pets
For the first time we have this year
But… as a solicitor pointed out, there is no law saying you can’t charge pet rent , so we accepted a pet for the first time this year
We added 20% calculated upon the term of the fixed AST so we cover the worst case scenario). to the rent for pets. Rent is better than a deposit. You don’t have to return it
You can always ask for a landlord reference for the pet ( they’ll let you know how significant the damages may or may not be and even provide images!)
(I would not provide a new refurbishment to pet owners but something a few years older that will require work on their departure anyway as it would need updating anyway)
Open rent has clauses mandating covering pet damages and the mandating cost of flea treatment on departure

understood ,If there are flats and one has a pet, the fleas could go to the other flats. No pets or fleas in my places

Latest response:

**Dear Martin

Thank you very much for contacting me, regarding my bill on pets in rented accommodation.

I appreciate the concerns that leaseholders such as yourself have, so I would like to reassure you that this bill would not overrule any existing contracts, for instance with freeholders, which contain no-pet clauses.

The bill is currently in its final stages of drafting, but I completely understand your concerns and of course am taking into account the variety of ownership structures in the United Kingdom to ensure that no one is disadvantaged.

The bill will not put forward an unconditional right to keep a pet, but requires various checks to ensure that the type of accommodation is suitable, including of course any existing agreements which would not be overruled.

However, I do believe that we must put an end to these unconditional “no pet” clauses which have caused such pain and heartache to so many people.

With every good wish.

you will get no joy with this man . non of my accomodation is suitable i already know this

1 Like

My response:

Dear Mr Rosindell.

I was disappointed with your response, as you seem to only have addressed one of the issues I raised.

In any form, your bill WILL result in an increase in landlords having to deal with problem pets in one way or another. Pet owners who struggle to find rental homes are in a minority, even more so those who have to relinquish their pets. The vast majority of flat dwellers who do not own pets, given the choice, would likely prefer to continue to exclude pets as would their landlords. It seems to me your bill is attempting to satisfy one minority groups’ interests at the expense of a larger group that includes tenants, owners and landlords.

At the very least you should provide some evidence for your bill is addressing a genuine wide-spread issue and not just a niche problem. And just because a number of tenant advocacy groups support your bill, their position can be taken with a pinch of salt, simply because many are left-wing with an anti-landlord agenda.

Lower stock levels are increasing rents with far more competition for rental properties. Having already had a bunch of Tory legislation, Landlords are now contending with the push for EPC level C to be met at major cost within a ridiculously short and arbitrary timeframe. Your bill is just one more legislative backwards-step in providing a healthy and competitive private rental sector.

3 Likes

I am moving shortly and need to rent a place in between selling and buying. is there any landlord in the Merseyside area who can accomodate me ? The cockerel only crows in the morning and my crocodile is a small one at the moment . The snake has only escaped once. and is not poisonous. your help Mr M P would be appreciated. Thanks in anticipation

2 Likes