Tenants in England with well-behaved pets should be able to secure leases more easily in future with the announcement of a new standard tenancy agreement.
The new Model Tenancy Agreement, announced by the Government on 28 January, means landlords are no longer able to issue a blanket ban on pets.
According to the Government, just 7 per cent of private landlords currently advertise pet-friendly properties, meaning many people struggle to find suitable homes. In some cases, this has meant people have had to give up their pets.
In future, consent for pets will be the default position and landlords will have to object in writing, within 28 days, of a written pet request from a tenant and provide a good reason.
Inspirational NI couple in farm business focused on healthy food
Further significant drop in the price of petrol, diesel and home heating oil
NI holiday homes have increased by huge 171%
Belfast’s Primark store to reopen four years on from devastating fire
MOT tests in Northern Ireland: PSNI and DVA advise how to stay legal despite five month backlog
'A nation of animal lovers'
Christopher Pincher, housing minister, said: "We are a nation of animal lovers and, over the last year, more people than ever before have welcomed pets into their lives and homes.
"However, it can’t be right that only a tiny fraction of landlords advertise pet-friendly properties and that, in some cases, people have had to give up their beloved pets in order to find somewhere to live.
"Through the changes to the tenancy agreement we are making, we are bringing an end to the unfair blanket ban on pets introduced by some landlords.
"This strikes the right balance between helping more people find a home that’s right for them and their pet while ensuring landlords’ properties are safeguarded against inappropriate or badly behaved pets."
The model tenancy agreement is the Government’s recommended contract for landlords.
Under the new agreement, rejections should only be made where there is good reason, such as in smaller properties or flats where owning a pet could be impractical.
To ensure landlords are protected, tenants will continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property.