Battersea Deeply Concerned as Government Considers Scrapping Proposed Ban on Blanket ‘No Pet’ Policies for Renters

27 Feb 2023

Animal welfare charity Battersea has expressed great concern at the Levelling Up, Housing and Community Committee’s recommendation that the Government row back on its popular plans to ban landlords from enforcing blanket ‘no pet’ policies on their rental properties. 

The charity is urging the Government to stay its course and keep the long-awaited pet friendly measures it unveiled in its rental reform plans last summer, after they were so positively received by the public. Failure to keep the proposed requirement for landlords to provide reasonable grounds for refusing a tenant’s pet request would see the Government backtrack on its promise to improve tenants’ rights to pet ownership.  

Reacting to the recommendations, Battersea’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Michael Webb, said: “Renters not being able to find a home accepting of both them and their pet is sadly one of the main reasons we see animals brought into us at Battersea. We’re tired of responsible pet owners being forced into this unenviable position simply because their landlord won’t listen to reason, which is why we’ve been leading the charge in campaigning for more pet friendly properties for many years.

“The Committee’s recommendation is deeply concerning, and flies in the face of the evidence on this issue. A quarter of all UK households are now privately rented, and millions of tenants are relying on the Government to ensure that they are not unreasonably blocked from keeping pets. We can only hope that when these aspects of the Bill finally reach Parliament, the Government also gives equal consideration to evidence from organisations like Battersea that highlight just how overdue changes are.”

Battersea strongly believes that pets are part of the family, a sentiment shared by millions of owners across the country, and the charity regularly sees first-hand the heart-breaking experience of owners being forced to give up their loyal companions for the avoidable reason that there’s nowhere pet friendly for them to live. 

Beyond the immense emotional value pets bring to their owners, Battersea research has also clearly demonstrated that there’s a strong business case for landlords to accept responsible pet-owning tenants. Not only do the mental and physical health benefits of pet ownership equate to some £2.45bn in NHS savings every year, studies also found that tenants with pets are happier overall and therefore likely to stay longer in their tenancies.    

It's little surprise, then, that in June 2022 Battersea joined renters across the country in welcoming the long-awaited set of pet friendly policies proposed by the Government – a package which, if seen through, could make such a significant difference to the lives of tenants who either own or have long harboured aspirations of owning a pet.

Battersea was equally pleased to see the Government advocate solutions to mitigate landlord concerns around pet related damage in this same report. Its suggestion that tenants take out insurance, which will go a long way in giving landlords peace of mind, was one of the key recommendations in Battersea’s latest research report: Pet Friendly Properties: The Private Rented Sector.  

It is with all of this in mind that Battersea is once again calling on the Government to introduce the Renters’ Reform Bill to Parliament. It’s only by beginning this legislative process that real, positive change can be made. The many thousands of tenants currently struggling at the mercy of restrictive pet policies have already waited long enough.  

If you are passionate about making the rental sector fairer for pets and people alike, then please join the campaign by following this link to email the Housing Secretary:

Adding your voice goes a long way in helping Battersea demonstrate to the Government that there is widespread public demand for change.