Dog sitting among some boxes

The new Standard Tenancy Agreement explained

What does it mean for mean for landlords and pet owners?

The Government recently announced it had amended its Model Agreement for a Shorthold Assured Tenancy...

The changes include the provision that landlords could no longer issue blanket bans on tenants owning pets. This article explains what the changes mean for landlords and tenants, and what landlords need to be mindful of once a well-behaved pet (and its human) starts living in a rental property.

Do landlords need to adhere to the Model Tenancy Agreement? 

While the Government recommends that landlords use the Model Tenancy Agreement, it is not a requirement. So, as a  landlord, you do not have to allow well-behaved pets to live in your rental property. The Government does note, however, that only 7% of private landlords advertise pet-friendly properties, so advertising as a pet-friendly property may mean more enquiries for you. If a landlord does use the Model Tenancy Agreement, there are still grounds for rejecting a tenant because of a pet. The gov.uk website states: 

“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.

What pet-related damage should landlords look out for? 

If a landlord is happy to let tenants and their furry friends into their rental home, it is important to note any issues that may arise due to the presence of pets - these include:

  • Poorly fitted cat flaps
  • Claw marks on doors
  • Torn and frayed carpets 
  • Pet hairs on curtains and blinds
  • Signs of urine on carpets 

To ensure tenants repair any damage and that landlords are covered should anything go wrong, it may be possible to ask for a higher deposit from a pet-owning tenant. Tenants will also continue to have a legal duty to repair or cover the cost of any damage to the property. 

Paws for thought

It is important to remember that the main offenders when it comes to damaging property are dogs, especially those that are left alone for long periods. When discussing pets with a potential tenant, landlords should ask if the pet will be left alone.

Landlords may be sceptical about having pets live in their properties, but it’s important to also remember the benefits that pets can have on people - these include:

  • Lowering stress levels
  • Decreasing feelings of loneliness 
  • Keeping the home safe - cats and dogs can deter burglars

What’s next? 

If you’re a landlord and would like any advice on preparing for pets, get in touch with us. We have many years of experience in helping landlords get ready for new tenants and their pets - we’re happy to help ensure your peace of mind.

Contact us today

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (2021) ‘New standard tenancy agreement to help renters with well-behaved pets’ <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-standard-tenancy-agreement-to-help-renters-with-well-behaved-pets> [Accessed: 18 March 2021]