Call for End to Unjust Landlord ‘No Pet’ Rules

New measures to be debated in Parliament today.

Responsible pet owners should be allowed to rent a property provided they meet an owner’s checklist, says Andrew Rosindell MP. The former Shadow Minister for Animal Welfare will call today for restrictions on renting with pets to be eased due to the with tragedy of ‘no pet’ rules forcing pets and owners apart or leading to homelessness.

As part of a 10 Minute Rule Bill, a type of Private Members’ Bill, Mr Rosindell will highlight the frequently unjust way in which renters are forced to give up their beloved pets in order to move into new accommodation.

He will propose legislation backed by animal rights and animal welfare organisations, including the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, PAAW House, Cats Protection and Dogs on the Streets, which will prevent landlords from banning “responsible owners” from bringing pets into rented accommodation.

“Jasmine’s Law” is named after a dog which was separated from its owner, Jordan Adams, because of restrictions like these…

Recognising the concerns that landlords have, the legislation will require renters to demonstrate they are “responsible owners” with a suggested checklist including a vet’s confirmation that their pet is vaccinated, spayed/neutered, free of parasites and responsive to basic training commands in the case of dogs. Different requirements could be placed on cats and other pets. In cases where the renter can prove they are a “responsible owner”, and the accommodation is suitable for their pet, the right to take a pet into rented accommodation would be assumed.

Andrew Rosindell M.P. will refer to his proposed legislation as “Jasmine’s Law”, named after a dog which was separated from its owner, Jordan Adams, because of restrictions like these. He will also highlight the tragic case of John Chadwick, a homeless man who ended his life after the only housing option his local council provided him with was one which meant separating from his beloved pets. Currently if homeless people turn down social housing due to no pets clauses they are told they are making themselves “intentionally homeless” and will be refused further housing assistance.

In the speech later today, Andrew will say that “every year, pet owners who are trying to move into new rented accommodation are faced with the reality that their family could be torn apart”, due to no pets clauses. He will add that “dogs are more than ‘man’s best friend’: they are equal members of the family and for most people, being separated from your dog is no different than being separated from a brother or sister.” But he will also acknowledge that “irresponsibly owned pets can be a cause of damage, misery and suffering to the animals themselves, to the neighbours and also those who own and manage the properties.”

He will highlight data from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home that the second most given reason for a pet being given to the home is no pets clauses, with more than 200 dogs given up a year to Battersea because of these clauses.

In a column in the Big Issue tomorrow, Michelle Clark, Founder of Dogs on the Streets, will write that “no pets” policies mean that homeless people are “forced to choose between shelter and companionship.”

Commenting, Andrew Rosindell M.P. said:

“I’m delighted to have secured this slot to speak about an issue deeply important to me. As a dog owner for twenty five years, I understand as well as anyone the connection a person can have with their pet and for too long I have heard tragic stories of pet owners separated from their pets because of blanket bans that landlords implement.

It is a huge opportunity to increase awareness of this issue and to pressure the government to make changes that they promised earlier this year. In January the Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick rightly called on landlords to make it easier for responsible tenants to have well behaved pets in their homes, but as of yet this hasn’t been followed by any legislation.”

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said:

“The RSPCA is happy to support this Bill, which would be a big step forward for dog owning renters. With more people living in rented accommodation – whether private or social housing – the issue of the lack of dog friendly rental options is becoming an increasing problem for dog owners and animal welfare charities alike. We regularly hear from caring and responsible dog owners who are put in the heart breaking position of having to choose between their much loved pet and a home. It’s not fair that anyone is put in this situation. 

“The RSPCA believes that responsible dog ownership can bring huge benefits to animal and owner alike and we encourage all landlords to consider how they can work with their tenants to be dog friendly. Dog ownership can enhance the owner’s mental and physical health and encourage exercise, plus dogs make great companions – all of which has only increased in importance over the past few difficult months. 

As many existing dog friendly landlords will testify, dog owners can be some of the best tenants. And with landlords’ support in encouraging responsible dog ownership measures through their tenancy agreements we could see real progress in dog welfare too.

Deputy Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home said:

“Battersea welcomes Andrew Rosindell M.P. shining a spotlight on the issues faced by pet owners in rented accommodation – something we’ve highlighted with our own Pet Friendly Properties campaign.

We know the heartbreak owners feel when they’re forced to give up their pets, as housing problems are the second biggest reason behind people bringing their pets to Battersea. One in five households in London now rent from social housing providers yet many animal lovers in these properties are deprived from owning a dog or cat, despite the key role animals play in helping to tackle loneliness and isolation.

It is vital that we continue this important conversation on how people can be better supported in their accommodation to benefit from the many positive health and social benefits of owning a pet.”

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