NOAH formally launched this campaign in April 2021; however, it is an issue we have long been passionate about and keen to address, including it in our 2019 NOAH Manifesto for Animal Health. Momentum is building around the issue – not least by organisations like ours, but also across charity groups, mental health campaigners, landlord groups, and even at Westminster with cross party as well as government support.

It is becoming increasingly clear that responsible pet owners should have the right to a companion animal regardless of the type of tenancy they have – the question now, is how we can make this a reality that mutually benefits everyone and provides the appropriate protections for animals, tenants and landlords.

We are committed to taking the time to thoroughly understand the issues around renting with pets, and how it can impact all the different groups of people involved – from property owners to tenants, charity groups to policy makers – we have worked extensively to ensure we approach this issue in a way that mutually benefits everyone who will be affected by Securing the Right to Rent with Pets.

What progress has been made so far on this issue? 

  • Jasmine’s Law – Andrew Rosindell MP is a strong supporter of animal rights and welfare, and has worked tirelessly to promote relevant issues. In 2020, Rosindell and his team campaigned for Jasmine’s Law – a Bill that would establish rights to keep dogs and other animals in domestic accommodation and to make provision about the protection of the welfare of dogs and other animals. Fundamentally, Jasmine’s Law called for an end to blanket no pet policies that many private and social landlords impose. Rosindell’s Bill ultimately contributed to the introduction of the amended Model Tenancy Agreement, detailed below.
  • Model Tenancy Agreement – since NOAH started work on this issue last year, the MHCLG published the updated Model Tenancy Agreement in January 2021. The MTA is a step in the right direction, but there is still more that needs to be done to encourage landlords to adopt the MTA, and the MTA must be further amended to include those in social housing and supported living. We are engaging with government stakeholders to draw awareness to these issues and to discuss possible solutions. Read more about the MTA on our ‘About’ page.

What is NOAH currently doing to secure the right to rent with pets? 

NOAH, alongside a wide range of organisations working on this important issue, are currently undertaking the following to secure the right to rent with pets: 

We are expecting the Renters’ Reform White Paper in Autumn 2021 after it was announced at the Queens Speech earlier this year, which is set to include several amendments such as abolishing Section 21 (otherwise known as ‘no fault’ evictions) and outlining proposals for a new ‘lifetime’ tenancy deposit model.

Within these emerging proposals, we are urging the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to include an amendment to the Tenant Fees Act 2019 that will allow landlords to require pet insurance in order to permit pets in their properties. An alternative permitted payment could be a ‘pet deposit’ with its own cap, to offer landlords a choice of measures that would encourage them to allow pets. 

Research by Jennifer Berazi, the Co-Founder of AdvoCATS, demonstrates the viability of this amendment and its expansive support from a range of stakeholders, including several MPs, charities, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) and Arla Propertymark amongst many more. The Heads for Tails! report can be read in full here.

We are proud to support Jen and the team at AdvoCATS and we continue to work closely with them to promote the report and its recommendations, as well as to further explore ways of making this a reality.

SCAS has raised awareness about the harms caused by no pets in housing rules since its inauguration, and has worked extensively to campaign on the issue. Earlier this year, SCAS launched its Pets & Housing campaign which includes 8 funding grants for original research into the impact of pet related housing legislation; stakeholder perceptions of pets and housing insurance schemes; assessments into incident, type and cost of damage caused by pets in housing; and the views of landlords, care institutions or housing association staff in relation to pets and housing.

We are proud to support SCAS, and look forward to the publication of original research on this issue to support securing the right to rent with pets.

Our Roundtable event in partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cats (APGOCATS) took place on 16th March, bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss this important issue. The session hosted speakers from Generation Rent, National Residential Landlords Association, Battersea Cats & Dogs, Blue Cross, Dogs Trust, Cats Protection and A-Law, and was attended by a number of MP’s including Sheryll Murray, Dr Lisa Cameron, Patricia Gibson and Andy Slaughter amongst others. 

The event was successful in representing a variety of views on this issue, encouraging constructive debate on the best approach toward securing the right to rent with pets in a mutually beneficial way. We heard the perspective of landlords and property owners, who stated the need to make responsible pet ownership more convincing to landlords, and emphasised the importance of making pet insurance more affordable so that pet ownership could be more accessible for a wider range of tenants, which we have taken on board. The consensus from the event was that bringing together this wide range of stakeholders was the best way of identifying common solutions to a problem that affects us all.

You can read more about the event from Battersea Dogs and Cats and Dogs Trust.