What do the new rental laws mean for dog owners?

New pet friendly measures under the Renters (Reform) Bill could be a “potential gamechanger for dog owners”.

Una the black adult Cockerpoo, laying on a grey sofa with a yellow blanket and beige cushions, looking at the camera.
17th May 2023

We welcome today’s announcement that responsible pet owners who rent will be given new rights under the new Renters (Reform) Bill.

Under this new bill, announced by Michael Gove,
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, landlords will no longer be able to unreasonably withhold consent when a tenant requests to have a pet in their home, with the tenant able to challenge unfair decisions through a new Private Rented Sector Ombudsman.

We have been campaigning for many years for greater rights for responsible dog owners who rent. Around one in ten people who contact us to rehome their dog, cite issues with accommodation, such as being unable to find suitable rental accommodation, forcing them to make the difficult decision to rehome their dog.

Research conducted by us and Cats Protection revealed that landlords are currently split on whether they currently allow pets, with 46% saying they allow pets. However, the number of tenants saying their tenancy allows pets is much lower than this, with just 30% saying their landlord would allow a dog in the property.

The same research revealed that, in over a third of cases where cats or dogs have not been allowed by a private landlord, the landlord did not proactively decide this based on the individual tenants or pets, but either followed advice or a used a standard template.

Allowing pets in rental properties is not just good for the tenants; there are advantages to landlords too as it could increase the length of time tenants choose to rent a property. Research conducted by us and Cats Protection found that 26% of tenants would stay longer in a property if they were allowed to keep a pet.

Owen Sharp, our Chief Executive, says:

“The new measures introduced today are a potential gamechanger for responsible dog owners who rent. Dogs Trust has been campaigning on this subject for many years as we believe that the joy of pet ownership shouldn’t be exclusive to homeowners, but open to private and social renters as well.  For too long, people living in rented accommodation have not able to enjoy the benefits and companionship of a pet just because of the type of housing they live in. 

We’re receiving hundreds of calls each week from desperate owners forced to rehome their dogs due to a lack of pet friendly accommodation. The measures announced today as part of the Renters (Reform) Bill will mean that many more dogs can stay living with their loving families. This is great news for both owners and for the animal welfare sector alike.”

What we do to help

To increase the availability of pet friendly properties, we have been providing advice and resources to pet owners, landlords and letting agencies for more than a decade through our Lets with Pets scheme.

For tips and advice on how to become a pet friendly landlord and how to find pet friendly accommodation, visit the scheme's dedicated page down below. 

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