Westminister

“The lack of pet-friendly rented accommodation is a serious problem – data published in August 2021 by property giant Rightmove shows that demand for pet friendly rental properties has increased by 120% since last summer, yet the Government’s own statistics state that just 7% of landlords market their properties as pet friendly. The equation simply doesn’t work and change is desperately needed.

The new Model Tenancy Agreement, introduced by the Government in January 2021 and their panacea for the problem of renting with pet, is unpopular, and used by less than 3% of landlords – worse, it’s not legally enforceable, so its default position of allowing pets isn’t really worth the paper it’s written on.

I have witnessed first-hand the devastation caused when someone has to surrender their family pet to a rescue because their new landlord won’t accept it – we have a chance here, now, to effect real change; let’s grab it with both paws.”

Jen Berezai, Co-founder AdvoCATS

 

Click on the report to download it!


#HeadsForTails – our campaign to make renting with pets easier and fairer for ALL

The subject of renting with pets was thrust into the spotlight in October 2020, when Romford MP Andrew Rosindell introduced his private member’s bill, dubbed Jasmine’s Law, with the aim of banning No Pets clauses in rental contracts. Whilst it never got beyond its first reading, it did highlight the huge problem that renters face trying to find accommodation that will accept their pets. With the country still reeling from the effects of lockdown on our day to day lives, suddenly loneliness, isolation and pet companionship featured much more strongly on the nation’s radar.

Initially as part of Andrew’s campaign, AdvoCATS started to research the background to the problem and what possible solutions there could be. We identified a key problem with the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and compiled our “Heads for Tails” report – click here to download a copy. With a lot of networking and sheer brass neck, we started to engage with key players in the rescue/welfare/private rental sectors, and discovered a genuine desire for change, but in order to be sustainable, that change had to be fair to all parties involved.

With input from NOAH (National Office for Animal Health) and SCAS (Society for Companion Animal Studies) amongst others, we’ve updated that report with fresh research and opinion, and we’ve taking it and its recommendations right to the heart of government.

Endorsed by no fewer than 39 organisations and sent with an open letter signed by over 40 MPs and Peers, to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities Michael Gove on 19th October 2021, the report calls for a fresh look at the List of Permitted Payments under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, and to make a couple of simple additions : to allow a landlord to stipulate that pet damage insurance must be held OR to be able to request a financially capped pet deposit.

In December 2021 we were granted a meeting with Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes, where we presented our case together with a dossier of preliminary research material from Battersea and NOAH, plus supportive statements from many of those who endorse our campaign. The scale of the problem seemed to resonate with the minister, who promised a further meeting to discuss the problem in the spring/summer of 2022.

We have used this time wisely : seeking additional support for the campaign, and undertaking more research to further our case. New supporters include the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) and International Cat Care.

We hope that at the very least the subject will be included in the Renters Reform white paper due later in 2022, but as the wheels of government can move quite slowly, a straightforward vote in Parliament to amend the Act would see thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of people either able to keep their pets with them when they move, or adopt anew.

To keep up to date with our campaign, follow us on Facebook & Twitter, and if you’d like to get involved, email us at: advocatsem@gmail.com

#HeadsForTails

Heads for Tails! is our hugely successful umbrella campaign that saw pet reforms included in the late, lamented Renters Reform Bill, which sadly never became law.

A simple change to existing legislation is the key to more landlords becoming pet friendly, and that’s why we were able to secure such widespread political and corporate support first time around.

Click here to read all about the campaign then and now, and our plans for post-general election 2024.

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