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.