Revision of Model Tenancy Agreement to allow pets

My husband and I are not at all satisfied the revision to the Model Tenancy Agreement aims to protect us as private landlords.

We wrote to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government expressing our concerns and they replied basically telling us we must accept pets (not just one, but multiple pets) in our property if it is suitable for pets.

So what right do we retain regards refusing tenants with pets or refusing current tenants to introduce pets into our property?

How do we guage if our tenants are “responsible pet owners” when they already reside in our property pet free? How do the powers that be guage whether or not we have been suitably “satisfied” that our tenants will be suitable pet owners while residing in our property? How can we, as landlords, and our tenants know that a new pet will be well behaved? What protections do we have as landlords if we do not feel “satisfied” and refuse to allow pets?

While the Ministry of Housing may be satisfied we might not be and once damage is done it is too late. Is it acceptable that a young pet will mess inside while being toilet trained? We think not, for any reason. What protections do landlords have if the property is damaged by the pets? To what extent will any damage caused by a pet be considered acceptable wear and tear? What recourse will landlords have to ensure tenants pay for repairs that will not involve costly court proceedings? Especially as damage caused by a pet is unlikely to be repaired or replaced with only five weeks rental deposit.

We do not want pets in our rental property (my husband’s family home for decades which we renovated to a very high standard for our tenants comfort and enjoyment), especially left unsupervised, and it was advertised as pet free to our tenants.

This is an assault on the right of private landlords to decide whether or not to accept pets in their property. The revision of the Model Tenancy Agreement, announced by Robert Jennick MP, gives tenants more rights than the owners of the property in this regard. So how does this revision protects landlords from situations we wish to avoid, such as damage caused by badly behaved pets or caused by the mess that they make or trail indoors?

Is there a petition against the revision to allow pets?

Any answers or thoughts are appreciated

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Hi Lorraine, I’d be very intersted to see your correspondence with MHCLG if you’re happy to share it.

It’s not the case that landlords must accept pets. It’s also not the case that landlords must use the Model Tenancy Agreement. There has been no change in the law on this matter.

You raise a lot of good points about why the changes to the Model Tenancy Agreement are confusing and unhelpful for both tenants and landlords. Specifically:

  • who gets to decide which pets are well behaved?
  • who decides what is ‘responsible’?

I wrote about this in our monthly newsletter earlier this month. My general advice is not to worry, because you don’t have to use the Model Tenancy Agreement, and that it just seems like posturing with no legal substance.

Government Fluffs Pet Promise to Tenants

This week, Housing Minister Robert Jenrick announced changes to make it easier for tenants with pets to rent properties. But experts think that the changes will make no difference — to tenants or landlords.

All that is actually happening is a change to the Government’s sample AST (known as the ‘Model Tenancy Agreement’), which will no longer include restrictions for “well behaved pets”.

There’s only one problem. The Model Tenancy Agreement has no legal status and hardly any landlords use it. It’s also unclear which pets are “well behaved” and which aren’t, and who gets to decide. This was pointed out in detail on the Nearly Legal blog.

So the new Housing Minister seems to have succeeded only in worrying landlords that they will be forced to accept a wolfhound in their studio flat, while failing to give tenants with reasonable pets any further help.


There is NO legal requirement to accept pets

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Hi Sam, I dont have a copy of my first communication with them as it was via an on-line form. However this was their reply…

Ministry of Housing, Communities and
Local Government

3rd Floor, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street,
London SW1P 4DF

Date: 28 January 2020
Dear Lorraine
Thank you for your correspondence of 10 January that stated your reasons for
supporting a private landlord’s choice regarding the acceptance or non-
acceptance of tenants with pets.
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon
Robert Jenrick MP, has announced a revision of the national Model Tenancy
Agreement, the government’s recommended contract for assured shorthold
tenancies in the private rented sector. This is based on making it easier for
tenants with pets to find private landlords who will accept them.
Currently, only around 7 per cent of private landlords advertise properties that
accept pets.
The key change will be to remove restrictions on responsible tenants with pets,
encouraging landlords who use the Model Tenancy Agreement to offer greater
flexibility in their approach to pet ownership. It will provide that a private landlord
should accept a request from a tenant to keep pets where they are satisfied the
tenant is a responsible pet owner and the pet is of a kind that is suitable in
relation to the nature of the premises at which it will be kept.
The revision aims to strike the balance between protecting private landlords from
situations where their properties are damaged by badly behaved pets whilst
ensuring responsible pet owning tenants are not unfairly penalised.
We will publish the revised Model Tenancy Agreement on the website
shortly.Thank you for taking the time to contact the Department and we welcome your
input on this issue.
Yours sincerely,

Private Rented Sector Team…

I probably over reacted when I responded with the points I made above.

We use the tenancy agreement Open Rent provides, is this not the Model Tenancy Agreement they are revising?


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We do not use the MTA for this and other reasons.

I agree with Sam’s points and will keep watching this thread.


Hi Lorrain, No the OpenRent tenancy agreement is different to the Government’s Model Tenancy Agreement. The MTA has turned into more of a political communication tool than a useful resource for landlords precisely because of this kind of posturing on pets, which doesn’t help either tenants or landlords.

Our AST can be viewed here:



You can Colin3 of course refuse pets unless the pet in question is guide dog.


There three other factors:
I may be prepared to allow a small pet. But I too am a leaseholder, albeit for 999 years and I have a lease that forbids it.
And if the pet is a noise nuisance
And an extra pet deposit might be a good idea but its not legal.
Why do we expect politicians to be in the least bit competant?

Competant politician ? are you having a joke? The world is run by idiots

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Hi Sam, The Telegraph reports “Tenants will soon have a legal right to keep pets in rented homes, forcing landlords to house four-legged companions in their rental properties” does the Renters Reform Bill still only apply to the governments Model Tenancy Agreement, and not the Open Rent Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement we use?

Good reply! Love the straight talking.

No, the Renters Reform Act if it ever comes will apply to all tenancies.

Hi Lorraine,

We’re expecting the Government to make an announcement later today about their proposed Renters Reform Bill and at that point we’ll have more information about what is being proposed and which tenancy types it is likely to apply to.

We will, of course, update our guidance once we have more information. If you haven’t already done so, we’d recommend that you subscribe to our newsletter so that you don’t miss anything:

It’s also worth remembering that at the moment the Government is just releasing a White Paper and that there will still be several stages before it becomes legislation. For context, the Tenant Fees Act was originally announced back in 2016 but took almost three years to come into effect in 2019.

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plenty of time to sell up

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