Oxfordshire Branch

Pets in rented housing

According to the RSPCA’s Animal Kindness Index, 69% of people in Great Britain class themselves as animal lovers. Those who rent their homes, occasionally come up against resistance from landlords when it comes to bringing their pets along, so we were heartened to see that the government has been thinking of pets when it came to looking at how they can make the private rented sector better.

The Fairer Private Rented Sector was published in June of this year as part of the Renter’s Reform, and states, 'We will legislate to ensure landlords do not unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet in their home, with the tenant able to challenge a decision.

Alongside this, we will make it easier for landlords to accept pets by amending the Tenant Fees Act 2019 to include pet insurance as a permitted payment. This means landlords will be able to require pet insurance, so that any damage to their property is covered.

We will continue to work with landlords and other groups to encourage a common-sense approach. Pets can bring a huge amount of joy and we are committed to supporting responsible pet ownership in the Private Rented Sector. Alongside greater security and quality, these measures will help tenants truly feel like their house is their home.' Chapter 6, sub section 2

Illustration of one of the concerns a landlord may have regarding pets.

While this reform is currently not law, it is seen by the RSPCA as a positive move.

What if your landlord has refused your pet?

Whilst the RSPCA is not able to give legal advice and must make it clear that we can only pass on information as we receive it, there is further advice available.

For help with your personal circumstances, if you are at risk of being separated from your pets, please visit the Private Tenants’ Guide, by Oxford City Council https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20271/guidance_for_private_tenants/1127/private_tenants_guide

Or the Housing Ombudsman Service who look into complaints about housing organisations that are registered with them. You can find help and support on Oxfordshire Mind: https://www.oxmindguide.org.uk/minditem/11248/ who can also support you with your wellbeing if you’re facing this problem and it is causing distress.

The final word goes to RSPCA Public Affairs Manager

Rachel Williams, RSPCA public affairs manager (Westminster), said: ‘Pets are members of our families and it’s heart-breaking that people have been in the position that they’ve been forced to rehome their much-loved pets to get a roof over their heads.

We are delighted that the UK Government is recognising the importance of keeping pets and their families together with plans to legislate against blanket bans on keeping animals in the private rented sector. The RSPCA looks forward to working with Ministers to get these plans into law in England as soon as possible; in a move which will make clear that pets should be allowed in suitable, rented accommodation – unless there is a justifiable reason not to.’ RSPCA News

Think carefully before taking on a pet, if the cost of living is a concern for you, please look at your income vs outgoings and ensure that you can make that financial commitment, the last thing anyone wants is to see a family separated from their beloved pets.