Concerns are mounting over the rising number of people in the UK who are obliged to rent rather than buy a home. This can lead to constant moves and extreme difficulty in finding a new home, often at short notice, which is exacerbated for people who own an animal.
The long-overdue Renters (Reform) Bill 2023 includes clauses that obliges landlords to consider a request to keep a companion animal which they must not “reasonably refuse”. An initial response to a request must be supplied in writing “on or before the 42nd day after the date of the request” and there are specified periods for response on both sides where further information is required before a tenancy agreement can be made and where the tenancy is a sub-let. The landlord may (and probably will) oblige the tenant to take out insurance against any damage.
There will no doubt be landlords who will do everything possible to exploit potential loopholes to prevent renters from keeping animals and, of course, it will take a while before challenges to refusals and other issues can be tested in case law, a luxury which many renters may not afford to be able to pursue.
However, it is an important step forward in enshrining the right to live with a companion animal in rented accommodation.
Of course, it behoves the owner to train their animal to ensure that damage and nuisance is less likely to occur which, in and of itself, will be of benefit to society.