A proposal by the Labour party to give tenants the default right to keep pets in rental properties has been met with caution by the RLA.
Under the proposals, tenants would have a ‘default’ right to keep a pet in a rental property, unless there is evidence that a pet would be a nuisance.
The Labour Party plan to consult on the proposals that tenants should keep pets as a default, and the RLA has written a letter to Shadow DEFRA Secretary, Sue Hayman MP about some concerns that it believes need to be addressed.
RLA Policy Director David Smith said: “The proposal raises a number of questions which we will work constructively with the Labour Party to address.
“Will landlords be able to charge higher deposits to reflect the increased risks of damage to a property where pets are allowed? Will insurance premiums increase for landlords to reflect the greater risk of allowing pets to be kept as a default position? What happens in shared homes and blocks of flats where one or more of the tenants do not want, or are allergic to, a pet?
“Labour will need to respond positively to all these points if landlords are to have confidence in this suggested policy.”
Adding to this, in an interview this morning with BBC Three Counties Radio, RLA Vice Chair Chris Town said:
“As things stand, many landlords do allow pets in their properties. If the default situation (as Labour are proposing) is that you cannot control what’s coming into your property, there could be unintended consequences associated with that. Landlords are responsible for the welfare of everyone in the property, not just those with pets.
“Particularity in a HMO, there are lots of other people’s right to consider, not just the rights of the tenant with the pet. For example, other people in the HMO may be allergic to pets or they could work night shifts. Allowing pets also means that landlords have to inspect properties more often”.
Landlords should already make checks
“If someone approached me as a landlord for a property, then I would always contact previous landlord and find out from them what the tenants behaviour was like at the property, so if they look after a pet, was there any issues with that pet, barking noise etc. If there wasn’t, it would be unreasonable to withhold permission.