In this week’s #ExpertView, The RSPCA tells us why it believes landlords should allow tenants with pets and what the incoming Deposit Cap could mean for pet deposits.
Pets are part of our families and with 49% of the UK population owning a pet, the RSPCA is urging landlords to consider accepting tenants and pets.
Pets are wonderful companions and can also bring us many benefits for our health and wellbeing.
For instance, dogs can ensure we exercise more and make us more sociable, and of course caring for any pet responsibly makes us more responsible individuals in general.
It can often be difficult for renters to find a landlord or housing authority who will accept active pets. The RSPCA believes it can be beneficial for both the tenant and the landlord to be open to renters who come with a much-loved pet as part of the family.
Here are some tips for setting up a good pet policy with your tenant/landlord:
Include a profile of your pet in your tenancy agreement – This should include details on whether as a tenant you have been allowed pets previously, the number of animals you have, details of your pet, their vaccinations, microchip information and whether they have been neutered.
Make it clear – The pet policy should include a clear statement that the owner is responsible for their pet’s welfare, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it should also detail what will happen to the pet if the owner dies, or are sick and have to go to hospital. There should be clear guidance on which pets are allowed, where they are allowed and where they are not, and how many pets the tenant is allowed to have.
Responsible agreements – The tenant should ensure that their pets do not cause a nuisance or create anti-social behaviour. The landlord may also want to ask for a ‘pet deposit’, this is an extra sum of money which would cover any damage that a pet might cause, and if there is no damage, this money should be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy.
Recently, the government has announced a new law which puts a cap on the amount landlords can charge for deposits. Concerns have been raised that this could stop landlords charging a ‘pet deposit’ which would mean they may be less likely to accept pets.
David Bowles, the RSPCA’s assistant director of Public Affairs, said: “The RSPCA encourages landlords to accept tenants with pets in their properties and don’t believe this new law will prevent this occurring.
“We encourage landlords to allow tenants to take pets into homes as it causes a lot of distress and upset when families aren’t able to take their pet with them, and charities such as the RSPCA are left picking up the pieces.
“We understand the need to curb excessive deposits demanded by landlords and will monitor this law to assess any consequences for pets.
“The Act will mean that landlords can charge a maximum of five weeks rental allowance for a deposit so this could still give landlords flexibility in adding a ‘pet deposit’ if needed.
“We also welcome the change to the Bill that exempts local or housing authorities from the Act when they are placing deposits on behalf of their tenants in private dwellings. The RSPCA has long encouraged local housing authorities to implement proactive policies on allowing pets in their properties and we hope this exemption will enable those tenants that have pets to keep the animals with them as they move.”
Matt at the RSPCA’s Keighley & Craven branch has been living in his rented home for the last nine years with his Yorkshire terrier Rooney.
Matt said: “I adopted Rooney from the RSPCA Keighley & Craven branch eight years ago which is how I got involved with volunteering for the charity. Rooney came from a home where his family had split up and they couldn’t offer him the time and commitment he needed. I moved home myself around eight years ago and I experienced how difficult it was to find a landlord or letting agent who was willing to accept a pet. My current property was initially advertised as ‘no pets’ but the landlord actually changed his mind when I met him and asked if he would consider my dog. I did explain that I was a responsible pet owner and I offered to pay a higher security bond if required.
“It can be really difficult to persuade landlords to give you that initial chance and it would be great to see more landlords or letting agents having an open mind when it comes to pets. I think it’s always worth asking if you can have a chat with the landlord to explain your situation and meet face to face if possible. Luckily, my landlord took a chance and allowed my dog in the property, this arrangement has worked out really well for both myself and the landlord who has gained a long-standing tenant who looks after the property.’’
Find out more about the RSPCA.
*These views are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of TDS, its officers and employees.
About the author
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has been looking out for animals since 1824.
Its vision is to live in a world where all animals are respected and treated with compassion.
Every day, with the help of our people and generous supporters, it takes steps to achieve its mission. From rescuing a stranded deer to changing the law, the RSPCA has already achieved so much and come so far.
The RSPCA is a registered charity in England and Wales. Charity number 219099.
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