Following some parliamentary support to encourage more landlords and letting agents to permit pets in rental accommodation - subject to certain rules - another group has put forward its views on the subject. The National Office of Animal Health, or NOAH, has launched a new campaign to allow pets into privately owned and social sector rental homes and includes details on the mental and physical well-being of the tenants as among the benefits of doing so.
However, the UK veterinary body also concedes that landlords who have concerns over the potential damage pets can cause should be supported by policies and other formal elements. This would help ensure peace of mind, particularly relating to the possible financial implications of permitting pets in their rental properties.
The Importance of Pets in Lets
With more people living in rental accommodation than ever before, the discussion over wider acceptance of pets in lettings properties has gained momentum. Even as a parliamentary Bill to allow pet owners to keep their animals with them in rental accommodation has been stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic, that it has reached that level is a signal of the increasing importance this topic has gained in the UK.
For Vets body NOAH, the importance of pets being permitted in rental accommodation has sparked a new campaign: Securing the Right to Rent with Pets: Making One Health Housing a Reality. The group is encouraging greater use of the UK government’s Model Tenancy Agreement, which includes pet-friendly elements.
The body begins by stating it is committed to improving animal health and welfare and of course, it stands to reason that a happy pet would want to stay with its owner no matter where they might move. However, the default position for rental accommodation rules in the UK is typically no pets which means if someone must move into a different rental home or their first property in the lettings industry, more often than not, they might not be able to keep their beloved pet with them. Not only is this bad for the pet – they may need to be rehomed with a completely different family – it’s also a negative change for the pet owner.
Pets Support Mental and Physical Wellbeing
Of course, not all tenants’ lifestyle’s suit pet ownership. But where they do or the pet owner can make it work with help from friends, families and pet sitters, having a pet is something that many people in the UK would love to commit to – even if they live in rental accommodation.
“Pet ownership is proven to have an astounding number of benefits, including on our mental and physical health, overall wellbeing, and our happiness,” NOAH says in its campaign. “Sadly, the adversity to allowing pets in rented accommodation is having an extremely negative impact on pets and pet owners in the UK.”
While NOAH is a strong supporter of encouraging more landlords, both in the private and social sector, to allow responsible owners to bring their well-behaved pets with them to their rental home, the body’s chief executive Dawn Howard is also aware of the concerns landlords and letting agents have in relation to this emotive topic.
Howard points to research from the RSPCA showing that tenants who secure permission from their landlords to keep a pet in their rental home were likely to live in that property for up to twice as long when compared with other, non-pet owning tenants. That’s a definite positive for landlords as it can result in longer letting agreements and fewer costs associated with finding a new tenant. Meanwhile, allowing pets also means landlords have more prospective tenants to choose from when they do need to re-let their property – another plus.
“It is these very benefits that we are keen to maximise in collaboration with landlords and housing associations, whilst ensuring we tackle any problems that could arise from pets in rented properties,” Howard said.
This latest additional support to encourage more landlords and letting agents to permit pets in their residential lets could give pet owners a wider choice of potential homes that are more suited to their overall needs, including to continue living with their beloved animal family members. It could also help drive up support for the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill, when it eventually returns to parliament, which would be a welcome development for Andrew Rosindell MP.