Conservative Peer Lord Black of Brentwood - Guy Black, a former newspaper magnate and Conservative activist - has urged the government to do more to allow pets in private lets.
He asked a question in the House of Lords yesterday, building on momentum started by the Conservative government earlier this year when it launched a new model tenancy agreement with a ‘default’ position of allowing renters to keep domestic animals.
Lord Black told the second chamber: “During the difficult and often lonely days of lockdown, pets have been a vital source of companionship, well-being and love for many people across the UK, especially the vulnerable.
“However … according to Cats Protection, one million households that would like to have a cat cannot do so because they live in a rental property? I welcome the changes made to the government’s model tenancy agreement … but not all landlords use the agreement as it is voluntary. What action will the government take to encourage landlords to use the model tenancy agreement to allow all those who want to have a pet in their rented property the chance to do so?”
For the government, Lord Greenhalgh responded: “I am aware of the issue that my noble friend raises. The model tenancy agreement is the government’s suggested contract with which to agree a tenancy and is freely available online. We will continue to work with landlords and other stakeholders to ensure its wider adoption for use in the private rented sector.”
Another Conservative peer - Baron Howard Flight - suggested landlords be allowed to increase their cost to tenants with pets, to which Lord Greenhalgh replied: “It is of course for landlords to consider each case own merit.”
And he went on to say: "The government recommends that the rental deposit of five weeks is a maximum rather than a default. Charging a deposit of four weeks’ rent would provide leeway to expand it to five weeks for such things as pet ownership and also to take up some of the suggestions that we have heard today around insurance or potentially looking at rent levels to accommodate wider pet ownership.”
You can see a transcript of the entire debate here.
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